Be Glad

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This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.  Psalm 118:24

שָׂמַח

samach

be glad

be cheerful, joyful

rejoice

make merry

be blithe, gleesome

Be glad…a way to praise my Lord

Be glad…putting a genuine smile on my face

Be glad…lifting my hands in glorious honor and praise to the One Who gives me joy in my heart and soul

Be glad…loving wholly the Holy One

Be glad…care about and loving those around me

Be glad…loving the ones we think are unlovable, although they are anything but that

Be glad…adoration

Be glad…in thanksgiving, I give to others with gratitude

Be glad…joyful rejoicing

Be glad…Jesus

Be glad…when I hurt, I find the joy of the Lord is my strength

Be glad…serving the Lord with gladness of heart

Be glad…honoring Jesus in all that I am and all that I do

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Rejoice in the Lord always.  Again I will say, rejoice!  Philippians 4:4

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let men say among the nations, The LORD reigneth.  1 Chronicles 16:31

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For the LORD will comfort Zion,
He will comfort all her waste places;
He will make her wilderness like Eden,
And her desert like the garden of the LORD;
Joy and gladness will be found in it,
Thanksgiving and the voice of melody.  Isaiah 51:3

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Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord.  Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”  Nehemiah 8:10

The humble shall see this, and be glad: and your heart shall live that seek God.  Psalm 69:32

Father, I sing praises unto You.  I rejoice in Your Name.  My whole being shivers with joy, gratitude, and gladness.  My heart is Yours, Father, filled with You.  When I am overwhelmed with the Glory of You, I am filled with gratitude and know that no matter what this world looks like through my eyes, You are my Joy and my Strength, my Comfort and my Redeemer.  When my eyes focus upon You, beautiful You, the sadness, the sorrow, the fears, the unknown, the burdens flee away.  You know all.  You care about Your children.  You lift my head in Your hands and tell me I am Your creation…that I am beautiful…that I am all that You created me to be.  I am so thankful, LORD.  Forgive me when I forget, when I compare, when I cry about not being ‘good enough.’ 

I do find joy when I think of You.  I rejoice in my heart when I ponder all You are to me.  Thank You, Father, for giving us gladnessdelightJOY!!!  I pray in Your Son’s Name, His exalted Name.  With thanksgiving in my heart…Amen. 

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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/

Sojourner

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“You shall not oppress a sojourner.  You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.  Exodus 23:9

גָּר

ger

properly, a guest; by implication, a foreigner:—alien, sojourner, stranger

a person living out of his own country

foreign shepherds, nomadic tribes wandering about in the land

I have been a wanderer much of my life.  I was born into a Navy family, Daddy being a Navy doctor and officer.  We changed duty stations about every two to four years, but he died early in life.  By the age of thirteen, I was no longer a traveler via the United States Navy.

But my mother loved to travel.  She packed us onto a train one Christmas to spend the holiday with her family in Chicago.  When we moved away from the Washington, D.C. area after Daddy died, she took about six weeks to go from the nation’s capitol to San Diego, California.  We stopped to visit friends and family and to see just about every sight she could find along the route.  Many Fridays after school, she would tell us kids, “Pack a suitcase because we are going to ….”  (wherever she had decided to go for the weekend) and we did!

Even in college, I was blessed with one whole semester aboard World Campus Afloat (now called Semester at Sea), traveling from port to port – South America, Africa, and Europe.  What an experience, gaining 14 college credit hours!

I became an adult and that wanderlust was still there.  I settled down for wee bits of time, but found new jobs, moved to where I would want to be or transferred and then I would find a teaching job (or something new).  Mom had told me, before college, that I would always be able to find a teaching job if I would go to college to become a teacher.  I did and found her wisdom was almost always true!

I have sojourned hither and yon.  I was a stranger or a guest most everywhere I went, at least for a time.

The LORD watches over the sojourners;
He upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked He brings to ruin.  Psalm 146:9

Then one day, 23+ years ago, I came to know Christ Jesus.  I found that my heart had a home.  My heart belonged to Him and I would travel this earth as a sojourner, a pilgrim, yet had a real Home in Heaven.  I may wander more on this earth, in this life.  As long as I stay close to Jesus, I will not feel as an alien.  I am by His side and know my true Home.

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.   Genesis 12:1

Abram left his home and sojourned in many countries among many peoples.

Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.  From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east.  And there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the Name of the LORD.  Genesis 12:7-8

Abram built altars in remembrance of all that God was doing for him and his descendants, for the covenants He made with Abram, for guidance as God took them from place to place.

“Set up road markers for yourself; make yourself guideposts; consider well the highway, the road by which you went.  Return, O virgin Israel, return to these your cities.” Jeremiah 31:21

What kind of road markers, guideposts am I leaving to remind me of what God has done in my life?

  • my salvation – God blessed me with forgiveness and a new life in Christ.  I built a written altar in my journal along with the date of this momentous event.  I praise God for my salvation.
  • marriage to Kenneth, the husband God gave to me – I have a written altar of this beautiful date, a marriage license as well as the life he and I have built together.  We try to live as an altar unto God.
  • blessed me with parents who loved me; allowed me to care for my mother in her last fifteen years – another written guidepost, one which I have been blessed to share through Being Woven as well; my journal of many days throughout those years filled with the sweet memories of Mama.  The hard times are written there and are important too.
  • sisters who are caring and loving toward me – Thank You, LORD.  – my road mark is the love we share now, along with the memories through words and pictures, road markers in my mind and heart of when we were children together.
  • and many, many more!

Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not Thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with Thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.  Psalm 39:12

Father God, Thank You for dwelling with me as I journey through this world.  Each day is new as I listen for Your voice.  Thank You for directing me from one place to the next.  I pray that I am aware of Your nearness, LORD.  Thank You for comforting me, for guiding me, for loving me.  Build my strength each day, Father, so that I may walk in obedience and humbly.  Thank You for Your Presence in my life.  I love You so.  I am a sojourner.  Yes, I was born in the country in which I live, but anywhere on this earth is not my true home.  With You, in Heaven, …my real and only Home.  Thank You LORD.  I pray in the Name of Your Son Jesus.  Amen.

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Photo and quote:  https://mybible.com/ and https://billygraham.org/

The Way of Holiness – Isaiah 35

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God speaks to us through His Word.  I continue to ponder this highway that I am on.  I feel His nearness, His love for me, His joy as I learn from Him.  I walk the road with God.

Isaiah 35:1-10:

1 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God. 

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you.  John 15:16

Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. …. So there was much joy in that city.  Acts 8:5, 8

I desire to abide in You, my LORD, being obedient and submissive to You.  I want to be a fruit bearer, honoring You with joy and song.

Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”

“But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”  Luke 22:32

Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.  1 Thessalonians 5:14

May I serve You, my LORD, with boldness and strength, acceptably, with reverence and awe.

5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 6 then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.  For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

“…to open their eyes so they may turn from darkness to light, and from the power of satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in Me.’  Acts 26:18

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.  Psalm 46:4

Oh, LORD, You are my All in all.  You are the One Who turns me from darkness to light, from blind to seeing, from deaf to hearing.  You set me apart for Yourself.  I am so very grateful.  May the springs flow through me as I walk in this world…that I would be Your witness, Your light, Your salt.

8 And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it.  It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there.

Thus says the LORD: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. ….”  Jeremiah 6:16a

This highway stands before me.  I ask for the ancient paths and walk upon them for this is the good way.  I know I shall find rest there.  Thank You, LORD.

10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their Shepherd, and He will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”  Revelation 7:17

I praise You, LORD.  I sing and rejoice for I know You.  You are my Guide.  You are the Way of Holiness.  Hallelujah!  and Amen!

 
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Photo 1:  Patricio Hurtado from Chile:  https://pixabay.com/en/hills-flowering-desert-flowers-960126/  CCO Public Domain (from Pixabay)

Photo 2:  Stas Kulesh, a Russian travel photographer living in Auckland, New Zealand.  https://hd.unsplash.com/photo-1451817045432-8c40f15299f9; https://unsplash.com/@kulesh; licensed under Creative Commons Zero

A Highway

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And a highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
the unclean shall not pass over it.
It shall belong to those who walk on the way;
even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.  Isaiah 35:8

A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.  Isaiah 40:3

Father God, I want to walk in Your ways, the highway of holiness.  You are Holiness that I seek and desire.  You are Love and Righteousness.  You are Holiness.  You make me whole.  When I walk on this highway, I walk toward You.  I so want to be wholly Yours, and walk the remainder of this life on earth in holiness. 

But my people have forgotten Me;
they make offerings to false gods;
they made them stumble in their ways,
in the ancient roads,
and to walk into side roads,
not the highway,  making their land a horror,
a thing to be hissed at forever.
Everyone who passes by it is horrified
and shakes his head.  Jeremiah 18:15-16

I do not want to wander from this highway yet I am human.  I have; I do; I will.  I have made and will make mistakes and I do error.  Yet, LORD, I do not want to.  You have forgiven me of my many past wrong steps.  I seek Your face, asking forgiveness for these paths I walk down when they are not Yours.  Thank You for loving me back into Your arms, my Precious Father. 

“Set up road markers for yourself;
make yourself guideposts;
consider well the highway,
the road by which you went.
Return, O virgin Israel,
return to these your cities.”  Jeremiah 31:21

I read Your Word, Father, as It is truly filled with the road markers that You have set before me.  I may wander off the highway, yet I want to be able to find You and Your way no matter what happens, no matter which way I turn.  I seek You and am learning to be quiet so that I may hear Your still and small voice, for I want to know You in the beauty of Who You are.  You are my God.  In the dark of night when the highway is black and there is no moonlight, I want to know that I am on Your path for me, for my life.   

But according to His promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.  Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by Him without spot or blemish, and at peace.  2 Peter 3:13-14

With anticipation, with joy, and with expectancy, I continue taking step after step.  Today, I desire to stay in this very moment with You, my LORD.  Tomorrow, I want to walk beside You on Your road for me. 

But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.  Romans 6:17-18

God, You have transformed my heart, beginning with my conversion to be Your daughter in Christ Jesus.  I walk as closely to You as I can.  I hope to stay near You from this moment on.  When I stray, LORD, please draw me near.  I sense Your strength as I am drawn under the shadow of Your wing, into the cleft of the rock.  I want to grow in love and righteousness, live according to Your Word, and be pleasing to You now and for always.  In the Powerful Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen. 

But this command I gave them: ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’  Jeremiah 7:23

Amen and Amen. 

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Photo 1: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7895628@N03/2807135427; “Endless Road” via http://photopin.com;  licensed under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

Photo 2:  Stas Kulesh, a Russian travel photographer living in Auckland, New Zealand.  https://hd.unsplash.com/photo-1451817045432-8c40f15299f9; https://unsplash.com/@kulesh; licensed under Creative Commons Zero

Peculiar Treasure

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In my younger and middle aged days, I ALWAYS wanted to fit in, not stand out.  I wanted to be wanted.  Have you ever felt this way?  I did things that I should not have done so that I would fit in.  I laughed at dumb jokes so I would not stand out as the odd girl out.  I said things to make myself, seemingly, a part of the crowd.  In reality, I would go home and detest myself for acting those ways because it was NOT who I really was.  I had this shadow following me around for years saying, “But you said….But you did this….But you did that….” and I would be living with these lies for years.

As I have grown older and have grown closer to Christ, I have come to realize that I am unique, different than anyone else on this earth.  I am me!  God created me and I am like no one else.  He wanted one me and now I am thankful to Him for His mercy and grace in forgiving my lies that I have told about myself and believed about myself.  I AM THE ONLY, THE ONE AND ONLY ME!!  : )  I do not have to fit into the world.  Jesus said, “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”  John 17:16 

Paul said, “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

I am beginning to feel like the woman who wrote, “When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple.”  Maybe I shall not wear purple, but I shall dress from the inside-out, allowing God to remind me of just who I am.  I am now in my late sixties and have finally come to accept this beautiful fact and truth that is ME!

Thank You, my Sweet Father.  I am this odd girl out.  I am a peculiar treasure to You.  I am Yours.  I am the only me and I accept this me for she is who I am.  And, LORD, when I forget this truth, please remind me that I am unique because this is how You made me.  I am loved as I am.  I have been given gifts from You that are unique to me.  Forgive me when I forget; forgive me when I try to fit in to this world.  I thank You for loving me, Father.   

Meanings of the word peculiar today:

  • strange, odd, unusual, bizarre, weird, queer, unexpected, unfamiliar, abnormal, atypical, out of the ordinary;
  • exceptional, extraordinary, remarkable; puzzling, mystifying, mysterious, perplexing, baffling;
  • suspicious, eerie, uncanny, unnatural

There are three sets of meanings here.

In God’s Word, there are also three different meanings, ever-so-slightly different yet the same.

Hebrew

סְגֻלָּה

cĕgullah

feminine passive participle of an unused root meaning to shut up; wealth (as closely shut up):—jewel, peculiar (treasure), proper good, special, private property; often used as the people of Israel

Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine: And ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.  Exodus 19:5-6

For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto Himself, and Israel for His peculiar treasure.  Psalm 135:4

And they shall be Mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.  Malachi 3:17

 

Greek

Two slightly different words:

περιούσιος

periousios

that which is one’s own, belonging to one’s possessions: a people selected by God from the other nations for His own possession

being beyond usual, i.e. special (one’s own):—peculiar

Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works Titus 2:14

περιποίησις

peripoiēsis

acquisition (the act or the thing); by extension, preservation:—obtain(-ing), peculiar, purchased, possession, saving

Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.  Ephesians 1:14

Whereunto He called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ2 Thessalonians 2:14

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light:….  1 Peter 2:9

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May I look inside of me, Father, and see the beautiful heart You have given me.  May I know deep down that Your creation is a treasure to You.  Oh, that I am a jewel to the God of all creation.  Oh, Father, how amazed I am at this gem of wisdom.  I am Your jewel, Your precious treasure.  I am peculiar because I am beyond the usual.  BEYOND THE USUAL!!!  OH, how wonderful that sounds to this child of Yours who has tried to fit in for so much of her life.  I love You, LORD.  You are so beautiful to me.  Thank You for guiding me to this realization.  I feel like sunshine.  I am smiling for this truth is so very special for and to me, LORD.  I feel like a light in this world because I am Yours.  May I sparkle as a real jewel that has been buried in the earth and suddenly brought to daylight.  I know…I KNOW I am Your peculiar treasure.  In gratitude, I pray in the Name of Jesus.  Hallelujah and Amen.  

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Rose:  CC0 Public Domain – JaStra @  https://pixabay.com/en/rose-shrub-rose-pink-rose-flower-1450604/

Flower with butterfly: CC0 Public Domain – Hans @  https://pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2013/09/25/13/22/apollo-186207_960_720.jpg

Threshing Floor

 

Oxen thresh grain with hooves and men separate kernels from straw.
Oxen thresh grain with hooves and men separate kernels from straw.

גֹּרֶן

goren

from an unused root meaning to smooth; a threshing-floor (as made even); by analogy, any open area:—a barn-, corn-, threshing- floor, a threshing-, void- place before the gates of a city

Freshly harvested grain was thrown into a large pile in the very center of the floor.  It was then hand raked onto the area of the floor where the oxen would walk around and around, breaking the husks away from the actual grain. This area was called the threshing floor.  It was flat and hardened by the passing of oxen over the sheaves, sometimes pulling a sled designed to separate the grain from the husks, the tares (weeds, false grain) from the wheat.  Afterwards, the stalks and grain were thrown up into the air (winnowing) so that the wind would blow the unwanted chaff away, leaving the kernels.

The threshing floors were also important places and were often used as landmarks.  Men and royalty often sat in the gates of a city, often on or near a threshing floor.

And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah sat each on his throne, having put on their robes, in a void place in the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them.  1 King 22:10

The words, threshing floor, is one word in the King James version of the Bible.  In looking up the Hebrew, we find the same word, goren, is for both threshing and for floor.  Thus, translating the Hebrew into English gives us threshingfloor as one word.  Other versions of the Bible separate the two words but translate them individually from the one word, goren.

Joseph, with his kinsmen and Egyptian followers, halted for seven days at the threshing floor of Atad to lament the death of Jacob.

When they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, they lamented there with a very great and grievous lamentation, and he made a mourning for his father seven days.  Genesis 50:10

Travelers might welcome a threshing floor to stop for the night as the hard, level spot would be preferable to surrounding stony fields for tents.

David bought a threshing floor to build an altar to the LORD.

1 Then satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel. … 7 And God was displeased with this thing; therefore He struck Israel. …  18 Then the angel of the LORD commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up, and set up an altar unto the LORD in the threshingfloor of Ornan (Araunah) the Jebusite.  …  20 Now Ornan was threshing wheat.  He turned and saw the angel, and his four sons who were with him hid themselves. 24 But King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will buy them for the full price.  I will not take for the Lord what is yours, nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” 25 So David paid Ornan 600 shekels of gold by weight for the site. 26 And David built there an altar to the Lord and presented burnt offerings and peace offerings and called on the Lord, and the Lord answered him with fire from heaven upon the altar of burnt offering. … 28 At that time, when David saw that the Lord had answered him at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he sacrificed there.   1 Chronicles 21:1, 7, 18, 20, 24-26, 28

Have we felt that something is worth more to us when it is bought and paid for by our earnings?  Do we take things for granted when they are given to us for nothing?  Is more value placed upon that which we buy, whether by money, labor, or things traded?

This same piece of property was to be where God’s Temple was to be built by Solomon.

1 Then David said, “Here shall be the house of the Lord God and here the altar of burnt offering for Israel.” …  7 David said to Solomon, “My son, I had it in my heart to build a house to the name of the Lord my God. But the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have waged great wars.  You shall not build a house to My name, because you have shed so much blood before Me on the earth. Behold, a son shall be born to you who shall be a man of rest. I will give him rest from all his surrounding enemies.  For his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. 10 He shall build a house for My name.  He shall be My son, and I will be his Father, and I will establish his royal throne in Israel forever.’  11 “Now, my son, the Lord be with you, so that you may succeed in building the house of the Lord your God, as He has spoken concerning you.   1 Chronicles 22:1, 7-11

Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the LORD appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.  2 Chronicles 3:1

Mount Moriah is where Abraham sacrificed his son, Isaac, to God.

He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”  Genesis 22:2

Threshing floors were places of judgment:

Rejoice not, O Israel!  Exult not like the peoples; for you have played the whore, forsaking your God.  You have loved a prostitute’s wages on all threshing floors.  Threshing floor and wine vat shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail them.  Hosea 9:1-2

But they do not know
    the thoughts of the Lord;
they do not understand His plan,
    that He has gathered them like sheaves to the threshing floor Micah 4:12

Threshing floors were places of blessings as well.  Sheave offerings were laid there to the Lord.

And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.  And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, My great army which I sent among you.  And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and My people shall never be ashamed.  Joel 2:24-26

Wash therefore and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking.  But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what to do.”  And she replied, “All that you say I will do.”  Ruth 3:3-5  So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife.  And he went in to her, and the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son.  Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may His name be renowned in Israel!  Ruth 4:13-14

 

Jesus bought me by His blood.  I am forgiven and paid for by the High Priest with His life.  I am to be winnowed, ridding me of the chaff.


His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will clear His threshing floor and gather His wheat into the barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.” 
Matthew 3:12

Have I felt that something is worth more to me when it is bought and paid for by the sacrifice of my LORD?  Is more value placed upon that which has been purchased for me by the sacrifices of Jesus?  Is the gift of forgiveness of the debt I cannot pay and for which I owe such that I am so humbled?

 

LORD Jesus, I thank You for the love You have for me, for redeeming me.  You have blessed me beyond anything I could imagine.  I know that a day will come for my judgment.  I also know of Your forgiveness of this child.  I want to continue to be winnowed for I desire to become more pure for You with each day.  I want the chaff to be blown away, then burned.  I want only the kernels to be left so that I may make You a loaf of bread.  I know You are the Bread of Life, yet I want to give You this gift from my heart.  How can I really thank You, Jesus?  You have done so very much for me.  I am humbled with gratitude.  Thresh me on Your threshing floor, my LORD.  Separate the weeds and husk from the very grain of me.  Winnow me to purity, to wholeness, LORD, for I want to be wholly Yours.  In Your beautiful Name, I pray.  Amen.   

 

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Father’s Day – 2016

MUSIC MEMORIES IN THE MIND OF MY WONDERFUL FATHER

Horace Williams, Jr. commented on a post here @ Being Woven (April 29, 2016/Memory’s Music) which so touched my heart.  It was in regards to the topic and the love he has for his father.  I have invited him to be my guest today.

In honor of Father’s Day, I welcome Horace Williams, Jr. of Pleasing to the Potter.

Dad-Army Captain MP-Edited3

My father is a wonderful man!  I am blessed to be his first born son and his namesake.  I have not written specifically about him on my site even though it was intended in the parent references I’ve made on several occasions.  My father and I have a very unique relationship but as I have grown older and wiser, my desire is to live like he lives in representing Jesus Christ.

Today, I want to share with you some highlights so you can know him a little better and then I will convey how music has impacted my father’s life and continues to do so.  Growing up as a child, I can remember my father and his love for classical music.  I did not really understand it at that time and I can remember thinking where are the words?  How can you listen to music with no words, I would ask myself?  Two of his favorite composers are Beethoven and Tchaikovsky.

I admit as I got older I began to understand his affinity for classical music.  In fact, I am listening to one of my favorites (Tchaikovsky) right now as I type this.  He composed so many great pieces of music such as The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and my favorite, his Piano Concerto No. 1.  As a former piano player myself, I can only dream to have played like this, but I digress!  Now back to my father.  Here are some highlights to give you a “peek” into just who he is.

Fantastic facts about my Father:

Faithful Husband.  Dad and Mom celebrated their 50th wedding Anniversary this year!

Fantastic Father of five children.

Fortunate Grandpa to 11 amazing grandchildren.  I say fortunate because my parents had to be wondering if I would ever give them a grandchild.  I think my mom stopped asking me fifteen years ago!

Fluent in 4 languages. (at one time he was) English, Spanish, French, and German

First class Army Veteran.  Dad was a distinguished Army Captain of the MP’s during the time of the Vietnam War.

Former Pastor, Church planter, and Home Missionary.  It was during my dad’s time in the Army that He came to know Christ as his Lord and Savior and felt led to attend Bible College.  He then became a Home Missionary as God directed him to start a church.

Free Taxi Driver.  I can still remember either dropping me off or picking me up in the wee hours of the night from work regardless of how many hours he had worked that day.

Frequently Awkward Adviser.  I think because my father saw us as so different, he had a hard time figuring me out at times.  Although he always advised me in love growing up, our differences made it hard on him at times.  For example, I loved playing sports; he played in the band.  He loved Sci-fi movies and I prefer a great mystery or love story.  Oh, how I wish I had listened to those “awkward” conversations growing up.  Looking back now, they were filled with such Godly wisdom.

Fighting a difficult battle with the debilitating Alzheimer’s disease.  Yes, you read correctly.  My father now suffers from Alzheimer’s.  A few years ago my father was t-boned while driving my car as I was recovering from the stroke.  My car was totaled; he was okay, just a little shaken.  It was at that moment we wondered if there might be something wrong with the safest driver I have ever known.  I remember the day he told me his diagnosis was confirmed.  He kept repeating it to anyone who would listen… I have Alzheimer’s.  It broke my heart!

As I watch Alzheimer’s progressively attack my father’s brain, I go to God in prayer asking for peace in my father’s mind.  I do not understand the disease and I’m not sure anyone does.  I’ve read research articles and reports on the subject.  It was stated in one article that sometimes Alzheimer sufferers remember things buried in their heart.

 

I feel my father’s love when he greets me with a kiss and calls me by my name.  His love for music is still evident.  For our parent’s 50th anniversary, all of my siblings pitched in and we got them tickets to the symphony.  It was a performance of both Beethoven and Mozart.  My mom said he absolutely loved it!  He sat still for the entire two-hour performance and did not move a muscle!  (I would include a picture but they are all pretty dark.)

Dad and Mom- Memory Post Dad

Mom also plays the local classical music station when they are driving as too much talking seems to perturb him at times.  My father has always been a fan of the “old school” hymns.  He never really has been a fan of the contemporary Christian music.  He loves hymns like The Old Rugged Cross and How Great Thou Art.  One hymn that has special meaning and seems to have stayed with him through everything is My Hope is Built on Nothing Less.  It is a beautiful and inspiring hymn from the 1800’s, a song overflowing with hope in Jesus and our foundation in Him.

Just a few days ago we all went to visit our parents.  He sat down in the chair next to me and asked me how I was doing.  I told him I was feeling okay, but was having a little pain.  He looked me in the eye and recited the first verse of this song to me.  It was all I could do to keep from crying.  I got up and kissed him on the forehead as I whispered, I love you, Dad.  I’m not sure I will ever understand why this is happening to such a kind, loving, and brilliant man with a heart for God.  I trust my Father in Heaven and I ask Him that He bless my earthly father with peace of mind…even if it’s the few minutes of listening to or hearing his favorite songs.

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I’ve included a beautiful video of the song my dad recites to me every time he sees me.  I pray you are encouraged and inspired.  Please pray for my father and grace for my mother.

Blessings to you and yours,

Horace Williams Jr.

Jr at 40-Edited-2015

Bio

I am a single, Christian man who loves the Lord Jesus with all his heart.  I am also the oldest of five siblings.  In the Summer of 2010, I suffered a devastating stroke that could have taken my life.  My entire left side was paralyzed due to a ruptured blood vessel in my brain!  However, God has given me a second chance and I want to glorify Him every day.  As my love for Christ grows deeper, it’s my desire to share my faith with others.  I pray you find help, inspiration, and encouragement as I share with you about the transforming power and love of God.

www.PleasingtothePotter.com

Birds and Me

BE FOREWARNED:  many photos and two short videos  : )

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I have been watching birds on cameras through Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology or American Eagle Foundation/USDA.  I watch the Albatross in Kauai, Hawaii, the Bald Eagles in Washington, D.C., Ospreys in Missoula, Montana, and the Red-Tailed Hawks in Ithaca, NY.  There are others as well, but these have been my favorites to watch.  Yes, I am a birdwatcher in real life too, but these birds either do not visit South Texas or they are hard to spot.  I certainly do not get to watch them raise their young.

Birds species can be so unique in the way they care for their young.  These that I am watching have laid the eggs and then sat upon them, frequently tidying up the nest around them.  The mate that is off the eggs goes hunting or fishing, bringing the feast back to the nest.  With some species, only the female sits on the eggs while the male hunts and gathers, whereas other species share in both the nest and hunting duties.  It is quite interesting to me.  These same ways continue once the eggs have hatched and they have their nestlings.  When very young, the parent continues to sit upon the babies until food arrives.  The parents are so careful in the way they straddle and finally sit over the young.  Take a look at this video to see this phenomenon.  Those large yellow talons never touch the chicks.  (The video is only 53 seconds.)

As they grow, there is less sitting over the nestling and more sitting with the nestling.  This young Laysan Albatross cuddles up to a parent in the nest.

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Red-Tailed Hawk parent gently feeds first of three born to this family in Ithaca, New York on the Cornell University campus.

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Mr. President and The First Lady in the National Arboretum — 2016 with Freedom and Liberty:

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From tiny (above) to juvenile (below)

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Parent birds teach their young.  The juvenile bird begins to imitate the parents in feeding themselves with food brought by a parent, flapping their wings and hopping, practicing for that day when they will fledge (fly on their own).

This is Liberty and Freedom dancing in the rain.  The video is 9:35 minutes long, but just watch the first few minutes of practice and more practice.  It will make you smile when they begin hopping too:

 In the case of Albatross, the parents head to sea, leaving their young to practice alone for their big day of flight before heading out to sea.  It is on its own for food for a time as well.

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One of the three Red-Tailed Hawks takes flight from near the nest:

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A fledgling often stays near the nest, continuing to be fed by the parents for some time.  Once flying becomes second nature to the juvenile bird, most receive lessons in hunting and fishing.

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“The eagle is observed to have a strong affection for her young, and to show it, not only as other creatures by protecting them and making provision for them, but by educating them and teaching them to fly.  For this purpose she stirs them out of the nest where they lie dozing, flutters over them, to show them how they must use their wings….”  Matthew Henry

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“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?”  Matthew 6:26

learntowalk
We are similar in a number of ways:

  • Parents care for their young: both may be involved, but not always.
  • As infants, we depend upon our parents to feed us, change us, place us into bed.
  • As children, we continue to depend upon our parents for many years, although we begin to spread our wings, gaining some feeling of independence.
  • One day, when we are old enough, and, hopefully, mature enough, we spread those wings and take flight.
  • …to name a few

Parents teach their young, guiding them to walk by holding their hands, eventually stepping out away from them so they begin to take steps toward the parent.

‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.  Exodus 19:4

God is our Father, teaching us.  He is a patient Father.  He waits as we take steps.  He reteaches, if necessary (usually so! at least for me!).  He draws us out to walk in His Way, to be obedient to His commandments.  He loves us and nurtures us.  He keeps His hand in ours.

And God said, Let us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth Genesis 1:26

I ponder the ways of these birds and my own existence.  You created me…ME!

For You formed my inward parts;
You knitted me together in my mother’s womb.  Psalm 139:13

Father God, You blessed me with wonderful earthly parents who cared for me tenderly and dearly.  They loved me.  They raised me up that I could fly.  And I have flown and hope I will continue to fly.  My earthly parents are with You now, yet their love is still with me.  Thank You for them, Father.  You care for me so much more than I can know…yet one day, I will know You, Your Holiness, Your Sovereignty, Your Love.  You are my God. 

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”  Matthew 6:33-34

I seek Your Kingdom, Father.  Show me the way. 

But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.  Isaiah  40:31

I want to fly with You for the rest of my earthly life and then on to Heaven to be with You…one day. 

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I’LL FLY AWAY by Albert Brumley **

Some glad morning when this life is o’er,
I’ll fly away;
To a home on God’s celestial shore,
I’ll fly away.

CHORUS:
I’ll fly away, O glory,
I’ll fly away;
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by,
I’ll fly away.

beblacksig

 

 

“A Regal Couple” —  http://www.eagles.org/dceaglecam/about.html

Video:   American Eagle Foundation/DCEagleCam — http://www.slate.com/articles/video/video/2016/03/bald_eagle_chicks_hatched_at_national_arboretum_video.html

Laysan Albatross by Linda van den Heever:  https://twitter.com/LindavdHeever/status/738811736409681921/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Red-Tailed Hawk feeding newborn by keysfishin:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/81381146@N06/26491567641/in/photostream/

Bald Eagles with two eaglets:  https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Ckhh94GWUAA2AxS.jpg

Bald Eagle with Freedom and Liberty: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23dceaglecam&src=tyah

Video of Liberty & Freedom dancing in the rain/© 2016 American Eagle Foundation, EAGLES.ORG”

Laysan Albatross chick practicing wing-flapping skills:  https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CkiOKYCVAAAsLbL.jpg

Red-Tailed Hawk taking flight by keysfishin:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/81381146@N06/26953158963/

Bald Eagle adult with juvenile:  https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=juvenile+bald+eagle+fishing+with+adult&view=detailv2&&id=B46BB7286E88F6C4170CC1682DC880085885587F&selectedIndex=1&ccid=NqGIBWck&simid=607997538543667549&thid=OIP.M36a188056724e13121ed5f3373687b56o0&ajaxhist=0

Baby Learning to Walk photo:  http://www.fellowship.ca/AWordFromSteve

Flying Bald Eaglehttps://www.bing.com/images/search?q=Free+Pictures+of+Bald+Eagles+In-Flight&view=detailv2&&id=371DEF5AFFC30C6C9055F494279CDFB0566974F0&selectedIndex=56&ccid=SSmBjioE&simid=608035965620391302&thid=OIP.M4929818e2a049a1f248cb977a990d061o0&ajaxhist=0

**  LYRICS “I’LL FLY AWAY” AS REPRINTED IN “ALBERT E. BRUMLEY’S OLDE CAMP MEETIN’ SONGS.” Camdenton, Missouri, 1971, p. 11;© 1932, renewed 1960 Albert E. Brumley and Sons.

Permission

 

please

“Mommy, please let me go to Suzie’s house to spend the night.”

“Daddy, can I have this toy?”

“Mr. Jones, I would like your permission to go on the field trip.”

How often have you heard questions such as these?  How often have you, yourself, asked such questions?  We ask permission throughout life.  We are taught early to ask for permission rather than just assume that the world is ours…at least we are blessed if we have been taught so.

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Many people today do not think that asking permission needs to be done.  Many believe that they can have or take what they believe is rightfully theirs, no matter what that may be.

Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.  And this we will do if God permits.  Hebrew 6:1-3

ἐπιτρέπω

epitrepō

to turn over (transfer), i.e. allow:—give leave (liberty, license), let, permit, suffer

And when we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who guarded him.  Acts 28:16

He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.  Matthew 19:8

To another He said, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”  Luke 9:59

But our God has taught us through His Word that receiving permission to do something, to have something, to say something, is very important.

Jesus prayed:

And He said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.  Luke 11:2

and

He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.  Matthew 26:42

Through our LORD, we learn that asking the Father for permission is the way we are to come to Him.  Our gratefulness and love is in the asking, in the humility, in the respect, and in the love we show to the One to Whom we ask.  A child asking for permission to do something is showing respect to the parents.  A student asking the teacher if they may share something with the class is done out of respect and courtesy to the teacher and to the class.  A caregiver asking her mother if she is ready to allow her to change the bed sheets or a diaper is coming from a place of respect and love.

God’s will is what we should seek, want to seek, for He reigns over all.  This is His world and we are His creations.  To walk in His will, we must seek His will and walk in His way.

And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.  Isaiah 30:21

One of the definitions of “allow” is to suffer.  Surely, I do not want to ask permission to suffer?  Yet, times bring hardships and trials.  God knows just what we need to grow in Christian maturity.  Suffering may be a part of what I need.

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

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Father, guide me, correct me in all that I am, in all that I do.  I desire to be obedient to You and to all who have authority over me.  Father, may I walk in faith as You call me in Your Name.  Show me Your way in all things.  Jesus taught and still teaches today.  He shows, by example, the ways You called Him and now You call me.  Thank You, LORD.  May I walk in the way I should go.  In the Name of Christ, my Savior, I pray.  Amen.  

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Scrabble “Please:” http://www.photos-public-domain.com/2012/04/03/please/

“Asking Permission” graphic:  http://lebarronpark.yisd.net/MediaGallery/tabid/1135/AlbumID/2447-143/Default.aspx

Hebrews 4:16 graphic:  http://www.amazingfacts.org/news-and-features/scripture-pictures/image/e/11359/t/hebrews-416