Cry Baby

Jesus wept. I do not consider Him a cry baby. So what about me?

I was considered a “cry baby” most of my life. Only in my senior adult years have I accepted my vulnerability in emotionally drawn circumstances. It may be the death of someone dear, a friend being treated for cancer, a photo of one starving or a refugee camp in Yemen (seen on the news), the recent mob targeting our nation’s Capitol, a situation that just hits me square in the heart, a person coming to know the Lord, a birth of a child. Much brings me to tears. I have been that way since a child.

My dear mother, whom I had a talk with years ago about this, and have forgiven her long ago, struggled with my tears. She was a strong woman and was not prone to tears, at least not in public or around us kids. I would often be sent to my room to cry. That was her way of dealing with me, those tears running down my face. When Daddy died, I was a month from turning thirteen. When I asked if I could go to his funeral at Arlington National Cemetery, her answer was, “Yes, if you won’t cry.” Well, I knew I would cry because I loved Daddy dearly, so I did not go to his funeral. To this day, when I see a caisson on the news or in a photo, I tear up, knowing I missed that extremely special moment of closure of Daddy’s life. Yes, I have been to his grave a number of times and mourn my loss. My mother’s body is buried in his grave now too. And, yes, I cry every time. I miss them both.

Tears are not a bad thing in my purview. I cry and usually feel relieved, worn out, loved, or a number of other outcomes. These water droplets running down my face from those tiny ducts at the edge of my eyes were a gift from God! God made those tear ducts. God created tears.

κλαίω

klaiō

  1. to mourn, weep, lament
    1. weeping as the sign of pain and grief for the thing signified (i.e. for the pain and grief)
    2. of those who mourn for the dead
  2. to weep for, mourn for, bewail, sob for one

And when He drew near and saw the city, He wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” Luke 19:41-44

Jesus wept because:

from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Luke: Jerusalem has not improved the day of her opportunities. He wept, and said, If thou hadst known, even thou at least in this thy day, if thou wouldst but yet know, while the gospel is preached to thee, and salvation offered thee by it; if thou wouldest at length bethink thyself, and understand the things that belong to thy peace, the making of thy peace with God, and the securing of thine own spiritual and eternal welfare-but thou dost not know the day of thy visitation, v.44. The manner of speaking is abrupt: If thou hadst known! O that thou hadst, so some take it; like that O that my people had hearkened unto me. How happy had it been for thee! Or, “If thou hadst known, thou wouldest have wept for thyself, and I should have no occasion to weep for thee, but should have rejoiced rather.” What he says lays all the blame of Jerusalem’s impending ruin upon herself. 

Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways! Psalm 81:13

At eight days of age, Joseph and Mary took Jesus to Jerusalem to be circumcised, as was the Jewish custom. When they entered the temple, Simeon and Anna recognized Him as the Messiah. (See my post of 12/2020 – For My Eyes Have Seen Your Salvation). Now, more than thirty years later, Jesus entered to be crucified. He was not recognized as the Messiah. “Jesus grieved for a people who would not know peace. Jesus grieved for the city that would pay for its spiritual blindness with destruction. Holy grieves.” *

In Luke 6:21, the same Greek word is used in one of the Beatitudes:

“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.” Luke 6:21b

Jesus is reminding us that tears do indeed turn to joy at some point.

Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negeb!
Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!
He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him.
Psalm 126:4-6

Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance,
and the young men and the old shall be merry.
I will turn their mourning into joy;
I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.
Jeremiah 31:13

Jesus also wept as He met the sisters of Lazurus, who had died. From the Greek word used in this instance, the tears were most likely silent, running down the cheeks of Jesus, our Lord:

δακρύω

dakryō

to weep, shed tears, silently

Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in His spirit and greatly troubled. And He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. John 11:32-35

from The Commentary on John by John Calvin: “Christ has put on our feelings along with our flesh.” …. “The example of Christ ought to be sufficient of itself for setting aside the unbending sternness which the Stoics demand; for whence ought we to look for the rule of supreme perfection but from Christ? We ought rather to endeavor to correct and subdue that obstinacy which pervades our affections on account of the sin of Adam, and, in so doing, to follow Christ as our leader, that He may bring us into subjection. Thus Paul does not demand from us hardened stupidity, but enjoins us to observe moderation in our mourning, that we may not abandon ourselves to grief, like unbelievers who have no hope for even Christ took our affections into Himself, that by His power we may subdue every thing in them that is sinful.”

In the days of His flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to Him who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence. Hebrews 5:7

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. I Thessalonians 4:13

“Never weakness to grieve where God is grieving.” *

“No one understood God’s goodness and control more than Jesus, and He still wept. Which means we can too.” *

Do my tears make me less of a person? Weak? Once I felt that they did. I was made to think I was by the actions and words of others. Kids called me “cry baby” because I did. Those two little words hurt. They diminished me. At least I thought they did. I did not have much confidence in myself. I did not think I was very capable of doing various things. I did not believe I could stand up for myself either. I was weak, so I thought. As life moved along, I carried that with me and even as an adult, I allowed injury to my heart due to feeling inferior in so many ways. Many of the teen boys and later adult men treated me as inferior. Not all, I admit. Not all. But enough to keep me thwarted.

But then I met Kenneth who introduced me to Jesus. Jesus showed me His heart through Kenneth. Kenneth and I married. We were each forty-five years of age. I never knew this love from Heaven before. I never knew I could be me and still be loved. Jesus treated me as a whole and beautiful person. Kenneth treated me as a whole and beautiful person. Kenneth and I were married for twenty-five years. He died of cancer June, 2018…just the other day…yet seems like forever ago! I have a Husband. His Name is Jesus. He is with me.

For your Maker is your husband,
the LORD of hosts is His name;
and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
the God of the whole earth He is called.
Isaiah 54:5

I know I can cry and be loved unconditionally. I can weep anytime of day or night and still be loved. I am no longer called a “cry baby.”

Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
Psalm 30:5b

You have kept count of my wanderings;
put my tears in Your bottle.
Are they not in Your book?
Psalm 56:8

Oh sweet Jesus, I love You so. You draw me near as You grow me to be more and more in Your likeness. I am grateful that You took on my flesh so that I can see You be a me, see You weep, see You laugh and love. Growing in You is about reading Your Word and seeing You in that beautiful Book walking, talking, being a human while being God at the same time. I am so grateful that You love me so that You have taken my sinful self and nailed it on that awful Cross. I am sorry You had to go through that for me, others such as me. May we each look to You and know that we are made perfectly in the image of God. One day…that beautiful day…we will see You face-to-face and know…know just how much You love us. In Your Glorious Name, I pray. Amen.

Tearful eye photo

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

Jesus weeps over Jerusalem drawing

Jesus Wept photo with graphics: http://www.firstchurches.org/we-who-must-die/

Which Wisdom?

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. James 3:13

σοφία

sophia

wisdom (higher or lower, worldly or spiritual):—wisdom.

This word in the Greek can mean either worldly or spiritual wisdom:

  1. wisdom, broad and full of intelligence; used of the knowledge of very diverse matters
    1. the wisdom which belongs to men
      1. spec. the varied knowledge of things human and divine, acquired by acuteness and experience, and summed up in maxims and proverbs
      2. the science and learning
      3. the act of interpreting dreams and always giving the sagest advice
      4. the intelligence evinced in discovering the meaning of some mysterious number or vision
      5. skill in the management of affairs
      6. devout and proper prudence in intercourse with men not disciples of Christ, skill and discretion in imparting Christian truth
      7. the knowledge and practice of the requisites for godly and upright living
    2. supreme intelligence, such as belongs to God
      1. to Christ
      2. the wisdom of God as evinced in forming and executing counsels in the formation and government of the world and the scriptures

(In the) meekness: πραΰτηςis, prautēs: mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit, humility

But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. James 3:14-16

From Matthew Henry’s Commentary on James: The order of things here laid down. Envying is first and excites strife; strife endeavours to excuse itself by vain-glorying and lying; and then hereupon ensue confusion and every evil work. Those who live in malice, envy, and contention, live in confusion, and are liable to be provoked and hurried to any evil work. Such disorders raise many temptations, strengthen temptations, and involve men in a great deal of guilt. One sin begets another, and it cannot be imagined how much mischief is produced: there is every evil work. And is such wisdom as produces these effects to be gloried in? This cannot be without giving the lie to Christianity, and pretending that this wisdom is what it is not.

As I live in this world, I can embody myself (as do others around me) a wisdom that I can call my own, and which, in reality, is not true to God Whom I know wants better for me. He does not want me to think I am better than someone else or think I know more than others. I sin. I am a sinner. That is all there is that!!

There is a way that seems right to a man,
but its end is the way to death.
Proverbs 16:25

I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself,
that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.
Jeremiah 10:23

The opposite of worldly wisdom is so beautifully described in the following verses of James 3:17 –

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. James 3:17

Pure: ἁγνός, hagnos: exciting reverence, venerable, sacred, pure from carnality, chaste, modest, pure from every fault, immaculate, clean; spiritual integrity, moral sincerity

Peaceable: εἰρηνικός, eirēnikos: relating to peace, peaceable, pacific, peace loving, bring peace with it, peaceful, salutary, peace promoting

Gentle: ἐπιεικής, epieikēs gentle, moderation, patient; able to be in hard circumstances yet be kind, courteous, patient, having no hatred nor revenge

(Open to) reason: εὐπειθής, eupeithēs: easily obeying, compliant, obedience to God’s standards

(Full of) mercy: ἔλεος, eleos: kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them; of men towards men: to exercise the virtue of mercy, show one’s self merciful; of God towards men: in general providence; the mercy and clemency of God in providing and offering to men salvation by Christ; the mercy of Christ, whereby at His return to judgment He will bless true Christians with eternal life; ability to forgive quickly

(Good) fruits: καρπός, karpos: fruit: the fruit of the trees, vines, of the fields; the fruit of one’s loins, i.e. his progeny, his posterity. That which originates or comes from something, an effect, result: work, act, deed; advantage, profit, utility; praises, which are presented to God as a thank offering, to gather fruit (i.e. a reaped harvest) into life eternal (as into a granary), is used in fig. discourse of those who by their labours have fitted souls to obtain eternal life

Impartial: ἀδιάκριτος, adiakritos: undistinguished, unintelligible; without dubiousness, ambiguity or uncertainty; consistent, unwavering, undivided in commitment

Sincere: ἀνυπόκριτος, anypokritos: undissembled:—without dissimulation (hypocrisy), unfeigned

And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:18

Righteousness: δικαιοσύνη, dikaiosynē: in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God; the doctrine concerning the way in which man may attain a state approved of God; integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting. In a narrower sense, justice or the virtue which gives each his due.

What I find wonderfully curious is that using spiritual wisdom, wisdom from God, in the world can convict heart and minds and souls, including mine!

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 2 Peter 1:3-4

Father, Your wonderful Word speaks for itself. I see the difference between the two types of wisdom far more clearly today than when I began. I have barely written any words myself. I pray you use Your Word and the words of Mr. Henry, the definitions from the Bible dictionaries to speak Your Truth to any one reading. I do not boast in myself, but I boast in You, glorify You and love You for all that You are to me for all that You do and will do through me. You teach me daily for which I am ever grateful. May I be bold with mindfulness that I am a tool in Your hands. May I be peaceable and gentle as Your heart is towards me. May I be obedient to You, to Your Truth. May I bear fruit in this world where I sojourn so that others would see the light of Christ in and through me. May these things be so, my Lord. In the Glorious Name of Jesus, Your Son, I pray. Amen.

Photo of sky/clouds: dimitrisvetsikas1969 (lives on Cyprus)

photo of James 3:14-16 – IMAGE BY JENNY KENT @ PicsArt

James 3:17 photo/graphic: https://www.thefellowshipsite.org/

“Wisdom from Above” photo: cloud photo from Pinterest with added graphics by me

The Burden of this Cross

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Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.   Matthew 16:24

ἀπαρνέομαι

aparneomai

to forget one’s self

lose sight of one’s self and one’s own interests

disown, abstain

Jesus’ words strike a hard cord in me.  I am called to follow Jesus because I have chosen His way over mine, yet I still want to do things my way, guide the direction of my own life, take my own chances.  Then I hit a wall and it hurts.  I run on empty, unable to go anywhere in life except down by the pull of gravity.  In order to follow the Lord, I am to deny myself, releasing my desires and hopes for His, His alone.  When I am in step with Jesus, all that He desires for me are those things I need.  An interesting piece of God’s puzzle for my life is His desires for me are often just what I desire for myself.  I’m not losing after all.  The relationship with Christ is far more important so that I walk rightly with the Lord.

αἴρω

airō

  bear (up)

place on oneself

to carry

My burdens can be worries, anxieties, physical pain, other people’s lives and their concerns, hurting people of this world, and so much more.  All can weigh heavily upon my heart.  The Word tells me not to be anxious, not to worry.  He is faithful and is with me.  He feeds and clothes the birds; He will do the same for His children.  So I lift those weights and take them to Jesus.

σταυρός

stauros

a stake or post (as set upright), i.e. (specially), a pole or cross (as an instrument of capital punishment)

figuratively, exposure to death, i.e. self-denial

by implication, the atonement of Christ:—cross.

The cross is what Jesus was placed upon for His crucifixion.  It is a horribly cruel punishment and eventual death.  Scourging comes first.  The one being crucified must carry his own cross.  Jesus did this part of the way until Simon was compelled to carry it the remainder of the way.  Jesus would hang upon the Cross until death.

And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus.  Luke 23:26

The cross is that which will kill this earthly life.

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I carry a cross, laden with burdens.  I place it there at the feet of Jesus.  He died for my sins.  Why do I continue weighing myself down?  Jesus has taken it all to the Cross.  Part of the definition of cross, in Greek, is self -denial.  I deny myself, being exposed to death, reproach, suffering, trials, punishment.  I am no longer mine, but His.

I am learning as I do that which Jesus asks of me: denying things of the self, lifting up that which weighs me down, carrying the cross to Jesus Who has already taken my burdens upon Himself.  It is in the doing, the actions of denying, lifting, and carrying to Jesus that I begin to find a clearer, deeper meaning to all that He is asking of me.

ἀκολουθέω

akoloutheō

to be or become the disciple of another as to faith and practice

to follow his teaching

Following Jesus is key to my walk in this Christian life.  When I am His, I desire to be near and to know the path upon which He leads me.  I release all burdens, knowing that He is caring for me.

“Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30 ESV)

As Your child, LORD, I depend upon You.  When I feel alone, or struggling with concerns, You are right here.  You are yoked with me.  You know my physical pain, the concerns that touch my heart regarding others, my anxiousness over provision for this earthly life.  Your grace is truly sufficient, Sweet Jesus.  Sometimes I feel wrung out and worn out.  The Word says in Matthew 27, verse 39-40: And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, ‘You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself!  If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.’  But You hung on that Cross, LORD, and paid the ultimate price for me, releasing me to walk with You always. You have given me eternal life.  How much more could I ask?  What else is there to ask?  Forgive me when I am selfish.  Often, when I deny myself, I must turn around and deny myself again, LORD, because I am selfish.  I just am, but am also very sorry.  I carry my cross to You so that I may follow You.  “And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”  (Matthew 10:38 ESV)  I do not want to be called “unworthy,” LORD.  Thank You for walking with me on this journey even when I fail You.  Your forgiveness, Your love, Your gentle nature give me the hope in this life that my physical eyes cannot see, yet the eyes of my heart know hope for You are the Hope.  I love You, Jesus.  I pray gently in Your Name.  Amen. 

befuschiasig

 

Graphic:  by American/Dutch web designer Catherine Reijans, founder of KATINK web design; https://thinkingmuseum.com/2013/10/30/thinking-museum-on-think-katink/  (but the actual think-Katink web design site is no longer connected, but I want to give her credit where it is due)

Cross:  http://www.themescompany.com/2012/04/17/cross/

Turning Back

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“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord GOD.  Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin.”  Ezekiel 18:30

שׁוּב

shuwb

to turn back, return to God

restore, repair,  refresh

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets long ago.  Acts 3:19-21

μετανοέω

metanoeō

to change one’s mind with intent on obtaining God’s pardon

to change one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins

conduct worthy of a heart changed and abhorring sin

Repent a word that I have misunderstood from the beginning of my spiritual walk with my LORD. Apologizing over and over again has only brought me back to the same sinfulness over and over again. I am truly sorry for my ways. I am sorry I mess up, but beating myself over the head again and again surely does not make me a better Christian. It becomes a mental as well as a spiritual handicap. I feel stuck and browbeaten. The worst part is that I feel like I am the one doing it to myself. Yet satan is the beater, the tempest, the devil dressed up, the evil one torturing me and accusing me. And I believe him far too often. I fall for his lies.  

Repent I know I have done many wrongs. I admit them. It is in the turning away from those ways and returning to God that brings me to the pathway He has for me. I want to walk it with Him. My life changes. I live differently than I did before I made the turn. The spiritual upward spiral toward God, a beautiful relationship with Him, abiding in the LORD, is repentance. I turn as a ballerina turns, keeping eyes focused on a point, twirling from point to point. Jesus is my point. I turn to Him, staying focused upon Him for balance, for holding center.

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It is by faith, not anything I do today or any other day, that I am forgiven. Leaning on myself is not the answer. Leaning on the LORD is truly the only answer.

Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.  Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me.  Revelation 3:19-20

By grace…I trust
By hope…I see, I hear.
By faith…I believe.

By love…I desire the One Who forgives me.

Repent by prayer
Repent on my knees
Repent moment by moment
Repent from my heart
Repent …. with eyes fixed upon Jesus
Repent live by the Spirit
Repent

 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith,…    Hebrew 12:2a

LORD, may the Spirit change my heart every moment of every day to be Yours, to follow Your Ways. May I release the reigns from my own grip and trust, with open-handed faith, that You are my Caregiver, my Provider, my Husband, the Lover of my soul. LORD, I pray that as I grow in You, that I understand that I must die to this self and live for You. You are forever gracious. I am forever grateful. I pray in the Name of Jesus, my Focal Point. Amen. 

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graphic: http://www.pinsuggest.com | http://www.pinstopin.com

Ballerina:Stunning technique and form – Elizabeth Rodbell of the Rochester City Ballet (New York state). @ http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_me8rpa1iTX1qix34io1_500.gif

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

Simeon Waiting

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Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.        Luke 2:25

παράκλησις

paraklēsis

consolation

  • a calling near, summons, (esp. for help)

  • importation, supplication, entreaty

  • exhortation, admonition, encouragement

  • consolation, comfort, solace; that which affords comfort or refreshment [thus of the Messianic salvation (so the Rabbis call the Messiah the consoler, the comforter)]

  • persuasive discourse, stirring address [instructive, admonitory, conciliatory, powerful hortatory discourse]

Simeon was waiting for the Consoler, the Messiah.  The Holy Spirit was upon him.

Oh, Father, I praise You for giving this man the testament of Your Holy Spirit.  He knew Your will for his life and waited.  Waited!  He knew the gift that You were giving to this world in Your Son.  He let the Holy Spirit lead him into the temple at that very moment.  He knew.  He waited.  Hallelujah!


And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not
see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.  And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the Law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now You are letting Your servant Greek bondservant
depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation that You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to Your people Israel.” 
Luke 2:26-32

Simeon prayed.  Simeon was so attuned to God that he believed that God was delivering His Messiah as promised to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.  He knew.  He believed.  He had read the Word and knew God’s promises.

Simeon called Jesus “Your salvation.”  He is.

The Lord has bared His holy arm

before the eyes of all the nations,

and all the ends of the earth shall see

the salvation of our God.  Isaiah 52:10

Simeon called Jesus “a light for revelation.”  He is.

He says, “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also make You a light of the nations
So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”  Isaiah 49:6

Simeon said Jesus was “for glory to Your people Israel.”  He is (although not very many have seen Him…yet).

“In the LORD all the offspring of Israel
shall be justified and shall glory.”  Isaiah 45:25

 The sun shall be no more
your light by day,
nor for brightness shall the moon
give you light;
but the LORD will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory.  Isaiah 60:19

Father, I praise You.  You have shown us Simeon in Your Word.  He loved You and spent his days in prayer, seeking Your face.  He came face-to-face with You, by Your Son, Christ Jesus, the Messiah, the Consoler.  He knew that this Child was You.  He knew because He walked with You and fed upon Your Word, upon You.  Oh, LORD, I am so filled with gratitude that You showed me this about Simeon this week.  May I seek Your face each and every day.  May my walk be as You design it, and not in my way.  May light shine upon me from the Sun of Righteousness, revealing Your Truth in and through me.  I thank You, Abba Father, for the most beautiful Gift possible, Your Consolation to me.  You have reminded me that I am to continue to be ‘expectant’ for You to show up in my life at any time, at all times.  In His Name, I pray.  Amen.

 “‘…and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”  Luke 3:6

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Painting–Simeon’s Song of Praise by Aert de Gelder, 1700-1710/Public Domain:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nunc_dimittis#/media/File:Aert_de_Gelder_-_Het_loflied_van_Simeon.jpg

Unsearchable

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Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
  Romans 11:33

ἀνεξεραύνητος

anexeraunētos

not searched out, i.e. (by implication) inscrutable:—unsearchable

ἀνεξιχνίαστος

anexichniastos

not tracked out, i.e. (by implication) untraceable:—past finding out; unsearchable.

that cannot be comprehended

past finding out

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These two Greek words almost look alike, mean almost the same thing with just slight changes.

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Versions of the Bible use different words to lay this meaning out before us:

Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!  NLT

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!  NKJV

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!  NIV

Oh, the depth of the riches

both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God!

How unsearchable His judgments

and untraceable His ways!  HCSB

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!  NASB

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how fathomless his ways!  NET

Impossible, untraceable, beyond our ability to trace or to find out, unfathomable…the greatness of God, His Omnipotence, His Omniscience, His Omnipresence…He is far more than we can possibly understand at this time.

Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
Your judgments are like the great deep;
man and beast You save, O LORD.  Psalm 36:6

Your way was through the sea,
Your path through the great waters;
yet Your footprints were unseen.  Psalm 77:19

God, You are more than my mind can wrap around yet my heart feels Your love and Your care for me.  I know You are with me and hear my prayer.  You are unsearchable but I am learning more and more about You.  I am in love with You and praise You for Who You are.  I thank You with my whole heart for saving me through Your Son’s sacrifice and His love for me, for many such as I.  He was resurrected from the grave and told His disciples that He will return for them, for me.  One day, we will be together and You will still be more than I could have imagined here on this earth.  Will I be able to fathom You even then, Abba Father?  Your mercy, Your grace, Your greatness, Your faithfulness, Your power and Your might?  Jesus said that we may not understand but one day we will.  I look forward to that day, Abba Father.  I lift this prayer in the Name of Jesus.  Amen.

Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”  John 13:7

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Photo:  Heartlight.org @ http://www.heartlight.org/gallery/526.html

Sovereign God Reigns

And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’  Acts 17:26-28

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You, Father, have created us all and we are all and each of You.  I am grateful for Your love for us all.  May Your peace reign.  One day, Jesus will for He is the Prince of Peace.

And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’  Acts 17:26-28

ὁρίζω

horizō

to define

…to mark out or bound (“horizon”), i.e. (figuratively) to appoint, decree, specify:—declare, determine, limit, ordain.

προτάσσω

protassō

to pre-arrange, i.e. prescribe:—before appoint.

ὁροθεσία

horothesia

 a limit-placing, i.e. (concretely) boundary-line:—bound.

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Father God, Your ways are perfect and You are sovereign.  You know our times and places.  They are in Your hands.  I am ever so grateful, LORD.

And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’  Acts 17:26-28

ζάω

zaō

to live (literally or figuratively):—life(-time), (a-)live(-ly), quick

κινέω

kineō

to stir (transitively), literally or figuratively:—(re-)move(-r), way.

ἐσμέν

esmen

we are:—are, be, have our being, × have hope, + (the gospel) was (preached unto) us.

live move being

Father, You know all and are all.  You have everything in Your hands.  As life changes and this body ages, You know the challenges that we face.  You know what we can handle and what we cannot.  I pray that we quiet our selves, allowing the Holy Spirit to tell us, in Your still, small voice, just what we need so that we are walking in Your will.  We want to know.  May our ways in this world calm and quiet so that Your ways will be all we need and want.  Thank You, Father, for loving us and being with us as we traveled and spent time with each other, with friends, explored new places, and were with You. 

You are the Sovereign God, reigning in my heart and soul.  I lift our concerns and families to You.  In the Name of Jesus, I rest and pray.  Amen. 

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“Fell to the Ground”

Leaves_fallingFall may be in the air for some.  I am a bit too low in the hemisphere to have it yet, but soon…soon.  Falling is what I am writing about today.  Not the kind where I fell because I tripped or lost my balance, but a falling that occurred several times in the Bible when the Power of God was stronger than they were.

So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and *said to them, “Whom do you seek?”  They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He *said to them, “I am He.” And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them. So when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground.  John 18:4-6

After reading this chapter in John the other night, my husband and I were pondering this phrase at the end of verse 6: “and fell to the ground.”  Did they fall down and worship?  Did they fall down due to a moment of realization?  Why did they fall down?

Being the research librarian that I am, I looked up this phrase in the Blue Letter Bible in a number of versions and then checked the Greek and Hebrew.  Since the verse is in John, I will stay with the Greek for today…

πίπτω

piptō

  • descend from a higher place to a lower

    1. to fall (either from or upon)

      1. to be thrust down

    2. metaph. to fall under judgment, came under condemnation

  • to descend from an erect to a prostrate position

    1. to fall down

      1. to be prostrated, fall prostrate

      2. of those overcome by terror or astonishment or grief or under the attack of an evil spirit or of falling dead suddenly

      3. the dismemberment of a corpse by decay

      4. to prostrate one’s self

      5. used of suppliants and persons rendering homage or worship to one

      6. to fall out, fall from i.e. shall perish or be lost

      7. to fall down, fall into ruin: of buildings, walls etc.

    2. to be cast down from a state of prosperity

      1. to fall from a state of uprightness

      2. to perish, i.e come to an end, disappear, cease

        1. of virtues

      3. to lose authority, no longer have force

        1. of sayings, precepts, etc.

      4. to be removed from power by death

      5. to fail of participating in, miss a share in

Saul, who later became Paul, experiences this same fall…

As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”  Acts 9:4  (Acts 22:7)

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At first, I was thinking that the men in John 18 fell down in worship even though they were coming to arrest Jesus, but I know that that is not so now.  They drew back and fell to the ground. (John 18:6b)  was a fall from terror or astonishment.

Other versions of the Bible replace “drew back” in John 18:6 with:

went backward

stepped back

retreated

went away backward

Matthew Henry, in his Commentary about John 18, states:  “See how he terrified them, and obliged them to retire (v. 6): They went backward, and, like men thunder-struck, fell to the ground. It should seem, they did not fall forward, as humbling themselves before him, and yielding to him, but backward, as standing it out to the utmost.”

There is fear in the meaning here…fear when Jesus proclaims Himself as “I am He,” Jesus the Nazarene…fear when a light flashed around Saul/Paul and then the voice of the Lord speaks to him.  In the verse below, there is fear when God speaks from the cloud and announces that “This is MY beloved Son….” 

Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”  While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!”  When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground and were terrified.  And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, “Get up, and do not be afraid.”  And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone.  Matthew 17:4-8

In Matthew 17, Jesus tells His disciples to “not be afraid.”  I love this because He touches them and gently prods them to get up and to let the fear go.  Does that not sound like our Lord?  Oh, YES!  He knows us and wants us to follow Him and not be afraid of Him.  It is in the knowing of Him that will ease our fears.  Spending time with Him, in His Word, in prayer, in communion, will draw us nearer.

Dear Jesus, I know that You are the One and Only LORD, the Son, the Savior.  I thank You for Your power in my life.  I am so very sorry that You went through such awful things for me, for others such as I.  But, I am so grateful that You fulfilled Scripture all the way through to this with more to come yet.  I pray I do right by You in what I say and do in this world.  If I fall down, may it be for worship and not because of fear.  I pray in Your Name.  Amen.

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Wisdom From Above

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James 3:17

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.  NKJV

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.  NIV

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.  ESV

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.  NASB

God, the wisdom that we need is only from You.  It is not the wisdom of man nor the world.  You gladly give us this gift, if we would only ask.  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5)  And, the treasures that describe Your wisdom, LORD…

pure:  μέν – me’n =  truly, certainly, surely, indeed; “…free from iniquity, studious of holiness both in heart and life.” (M. Henry)

peaceable: εἰρηνικός – eirēnikos = bring peace with it, peaceful, salutary; peace depends upon purity.  ” Those who are truly wise do what they can to preserve peace, that it may not be broken; and to make peace, that where it is lost it may be restored. In kingdoms, in families, in churches, in all societies, and in all interviews and transactions, heavenly wisdom makes men peaceable.”  (M. Henry)

gentle: ἐπιεικής – epieikēs = equitable, fair, mild, gentle, seeming, suitable.  “It is gentle, not standing upon extreme right in matters of property; not saying nor doing any thing rigorous in points of censure; not being furious about opinions, urging our own beyond their weight nor theirs who oppose us beyond their intention; not being rude and overbearing in conversation, nor harsh and cruel in temper. Gentleness may thus be opposed to all these.”  (M. Henry)

Father, I feel compassion in what Mr. Henry says here as it is the need to control, to be right, to act high and mighty that brings us down.  Help me to use Your wisdom when I talk to others. 

easy to be entreated: εὐπειθήςeupeithēs = easily obeying, compliant.  “…it is very persuadable, either to what is good or from what is evil.”  (M. Henry)

full of mercy: ἔλεοςeleos =  mercy: kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them/of men towards men: to exercise the virtue of mercy, show one’s self merciful.

good fruits: καρπόςkarpos =  that which originates or comes from something, an effect, result/work,act, deed.

Heavenly wisdom is full of mercy and good fruits, inwardly disposed to every thing that is kind and good, both to relieve those who want and to forgive those who offend, and actually to do this whenever proper occasions offer.”  (M. Henry)

without partiality: ἀδιάκριτοςadiakritos = without dubiousness, ambiguity or uncertainty. The original word, adiakritos, signifies to be without suspicion, or free from judging, making no undue surmises nor differences in our conduct towards one person more than another. The margin reads it, without wrangling, not acting the part of sectaries, and disputing merely for the sake of a party; nor censuring others purely on account of their differing from us. The wisest men are least apt to be censurers.”  (M. Henry)

without hypocrisy: ἀνυπόκριτος  – anypokritos = unfeigned, undisguised, sincere. It has no disguises nor deceits. It cannot fall in with those managements which the world counts wise, which are crafty and guileful; but it is sincere and open, steady and uniform, and consistent with itself.”  (M. Henry)

Father God, You will gladly give us this precious gift and when You do, may we use it as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:12: For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you.

I pray that my mind and heart would stay close and tender towards Your teaching as I learn Your ways, O LORD. 

And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.  James 3:18

“And that which is sown in peace will produce a harvest of joys. Let others reap the fruits of contentions, and all the advantages they can propose to themselves by them; but let us go on peaceably to sow the seeds of righteousness, and we may depend upon it our labour will not be lost.  For light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart; and the work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.”  (M. Henry)

Father, I pray that I would be still and ask for Your wisdom.  That I would allow Your Holy Spirit to bathe me in it and walk this world with the strength of Your wisdom in me through Your Holy Spirit.  May I be quiet and assured because I am close to You.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

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Photo:  The Fellowship Site