Weakness to Power ~ Only by God

Illustration of Lamentations 3:41 — "Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens."

As I return to this place on the internet after almost a two-month absence, let me catch you up on what I have been up to these months. I moved from Eastern Texas to Western Colorado. A house has been sold, a large garage sale ensued, furnishings (and stuff) packed up and loaded onto a truck, much packed into and onto my candy-apple red Kia, shared porches to say goodbye, loaded 12-year-old Bonnie-Girl (the cat God loaned me) along with me into the car for our 1,100 miles journey across three states. Then, I got to unload all from my car into an apartment. Now adjustment to a whole new environment, finding doctors, a dentist, a veterinarian, a church home, the post office, meeting neighbors, visiting with my cousin regularly on her porch or couch, learning about my new home while I wait about a year for the condo cooperative to be built. I am beaten down, worn out, exhausted, yet delighted, happy, overwhelmed by God’s beautiful high desert creations surrounding this valley, this Grand Valley, as it is called.

Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD,
and my right is disregarded by my God”? Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for 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 40:27-31

Who is the One I cling to, the One I lean on? …God

Who has led me across three states? …my God

Who do I seek in my weariness? …God, my Creator Who knows all

I would like to be able to say I never lean upon my own self or my own understanding, but I do. Oh, I think I know and understand. I want to be in charge, but I am surely NOT! Praising God for He holds me in His mighty hands, near to His heart.

Behold, God is exalted in His power;
who is a teacher like Him? Job 36:22

Ascribe power to God, Whose majesty is over Israel,
and Whose power is in the skies.  Awesome is God from His sanctuary;
the God of Israel—He is the one who gives power and strength to His people.   Blessed be God! Psalm 68:34-35

Jude 24-25

As I ponder my weakness and weariness, I ponder the power and strength of the One Who I depend upon more and more, especially the older I become.

from ‘Morning and Evening’ – the classic daily devotional written by Charles H. Spurgeon

“The act of prayer teaches us our unworthiness, which is a very salutary lesson for such proud beings as we are. If God gave us favours without constraining us to pray for them we should never know how poor we are, but a true prayer is an inventory of wants, a catalogue of necessities, a revelation of hidden poverty. While it is an application to divine wealth, it is a confession of human emptiness. The most healthy state of a Christian is to be always empty in self and constantly depending upon the Lord for supplies; to be always poor in self and rich in Jesus; weak as water personally, but mighty through God to do great exploits; and hence the use of prayer, because, while it adores God, it lays the creature where it should be, in the very dust. Prayer is in itself, apart from the answer which it brings, a great benefit to the Christian. As the runner gains strength for the race by daily exercise, so for the great race of life we acquire energy by the hallowed labour of prayer. Prayer plumes the wings of God’s young eaglets, that they may learn to mount above the clouds. Prayer girds the loins of God’s warriors, and sends them forth to combat with their sinews braced and their muscles firm. An earnest pleader cometh out of his closet, even as the sun ariseth from the chambers of the east, rejoicing like a strong man to run his race. Prayer is that uplifted hand of Moses which routs the Amalekites more than the sword of Joshua; it is the arrow shot from the chamber of the prophet foreboding defeat to the Syrians. Prayer girds human weakness with divine strength, turns human folly into heavenly wisdom, and gives to troubled mortals the peace of God. We know not what prayer cannot do! We thank thee, great God, for the mercy-seat, a choice proof of thy marvellous lovingkindness. Help us to use it aright throughout this day!”

Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Romans 8:26

To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of His calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by His power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

2 Timothy 1:7

They all paid attention to Him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called Great.” Acts 8:10

Father God, thank You for carrying me upon this journey, to this new place for me. Thank You for reigning over my life. And thank You for taking the reins from me when I grab them. I do not want them, yet I manage to take them from You. I am sorry. Hold me in my weakness, Lord. I am tired, feeling physically weak right now. I desire to be strong in my faith in the midst of physical weakness. Please guide my steps. It feels so good to be praying to You, the Only One Who can truly answer my prayers. I pray for this body that You created, this body that I live in. It needs repair, my Great Physician. My back hurts for I have done too much, straining it over these past months. Heal me, O Lord, heal me. In my weakness, You are strong. Thank You for guiding me to a church that is biblically sound. If I am to look further, show me Your way. Thank You for bringing me to Grand Junction safely, across such a long and hard journey for me this time. I praise Your Name in all I am, in all I do and say, in all the beauty around me in this place, in all, Lord, in all! I love You, my Precious Lord.  I pray all in the powerful and merciful Name of Jesus.  Amen.

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

 

Photo/Graphic: Lamentations 3:41 @ Heartlight.org

Photo/Graphic: Jude 24-25 @ Heartlight.org

‘Morning and Evening’ is the classic daily devotional from Charles H. Spurgeon. Written by Charles H. Spurgeon.

Photo/Graphic: 2 Timothy 1:7 @ Heartlight.org

The Invisible God

For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. Romans 1:20 ESV

ἀόρατος

aoratos

either, not seen i. e. unseen, or that cannot be seen i. e.invisible.

For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse. Romans 1:20 NET

For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. NLT

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, being understood by what has been made, so that they are without excuse. NASB20

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. Colossians 1:15

For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. Colossians 1:16

To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.  Amen. 1 Timothy 1:17

By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. Hebrews 11:27 (Moses)

Father God, Almighty One, Holy One of Israel, LORD of lords, King of kings, You are my All in all, the Invisible God. You are invisible to me physically, but not to my heart. Your Holy Spirit lives in me to direct my path. You have given me physical eyes which see the beauty of this awesome earth. I have physical ears which can hear the sounds of a waterfall, the falling rain, a rushing river. You have blessed me with these physical eyes and ears plus You have also given me eyes and ears of my heart that I can see and hear and know the Truth through Your Word. I can “see” You through the likeness of many to the Image of Your Son, Jesus. Their kindness, gentleness, meekness, joy, humility (even in tribulations), holiness and blamelessness, not self-seeking, obedience, their love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control all show me more and more of You, Lord. And when my ears hear the rushing waters, my spiritual ears hear Jesus as the Living Water.

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” John 7:37-38

When my spiritual eyes see the Lily of the Valley flowers along a pathway, I see Jesus.

I am a Rose of Sharon,
a Lily of the Valleys.
Song of Solomon 2:1

When I know the Holy Spirit is guiding me, I also know:

Jesus said to him, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6

Father, thank You for making Yourself present in my life and for saving me from certain death without You. I pray I spread the Light and the Salt. I love You and love Your beauty. In the Loving and Lovely Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

 

Romans 1:20 photo/graphic @ https://dailyverses.net/2021/8/14

Wild Horses photo: Wyoming Public Radio

Tulip @ DesktopNexus

Snow/River @ WallUp

Yosemite Valley @ WallpapersCraft

Living Waters @ FreeImages

Lily of the Valley @ FreeBigPictures

Autumn Path @ WallpapersCraft

I Serve a Magnificent and Holy God!

This post is not something I have ever done before, but when I saw the reader statistics for Being Woven on this past Easter Sunday, I was so very humbled. I just want to share them with you, my readers.

On Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021, “Being Woven” had 298 visitors from all around this world. 240 must have “googled,” “binged,” searched for “He is Risen.” 240 people read the Easter post “He is Risen!” from March 24, 2016, on “Being Woven.” Five years ago! It is short but has a powerful punch. Plus 9 people came and read the Easter message for 2021. These are messages that never grow old, never change, never is anything but great news to those who believe for He has, indeed, risen! Jesus rose and conquered death. Hallelujah!

And it can, hopefully, be good news, great news, for those who are searching for Christ without even knowing exactly what they are needing and why they are needing it.

I am humbled by my Magnificent and Holy Lord. He called them to this blog, which was originally born in Jesus, written about Jesus, since 2009. Over the years, through the words I type, God teaches me more than I could ever imagine. He uses this blog to mold me to look more and more like Christ. I am so very grateful.

My prayer over every visitor is that the messages here will touch each one way beyond anything I can control or hope, or more than the words that my fingers type. My prayer over me as I type each post would be that they be guided by the Holy Spirit and not me. I am quite sure that is not always the case, but I pray it is for most.

Let me share the countries from which they came on this past Easter Sunday, April 4th, 2021:

United States

United Kingdom

India

South Africa

Canada

Jamaica

Brazil

Philippines

Nigeria

France

Spain

Netherlands

Ghana

Australia

Vietnam

Dominican Republic

Germany

Bahamas

Indonesia

Singapore

Angola

Hondurus

Swaziland

Trinidad & Tobago

Serbia

Mexico

Zimbabwe

Norway

Botswana

Puerto Rico

Bolivia

All over this world!

Nothing is too hard, too big, too small, too wide, too deep, or too narrow for God to bring the Gospel to others. I could not have imagined 12 years ago when I began this blog just how He would use this very woman who is continuously being woven.

“He reveals mysteries from the darkness
And brings the deep darkness into light.”
Job 12:22

As I pray Ephesians 3:14-21, please join me:

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from Whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of His glory He may grant [me] to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in [my] inner being, so that Christ may dwell in [my] heart through faith—that [I], being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that [I] may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that [I] ask or think, according to the power at work within [me], to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Photo with Mark 16:6: Christina Rivas @ faithful4Him

World Map image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:World_map_pol_2005-fr.svg

Audible

We know “Audible” as a membership from Amazon to listen to books read by the author or someone else rather than read them ourselves. But the “audible” I am writing about today is the voice of God actually heard. Not only could Jesus hear the Voice of God but at three points in the life of Jesus, the people around Him could also hear God’s Voice in some manner. God had something to say to those around Him on those moments. We know these because they are written in the Word of God. Yes, God spoke many other times in the Bible but these are the New Testament audible moments that are written down for us.

At the baptism of Jesus

And when Jesus was baptized, immediately He went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on Him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is My beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:16-17

φωνή

phōnḗ – (fo-nay’)

  1. a sound, a tone
    1. of inanimate things, as musical instruments
    2. of wings, of wind, of thunder, of waters
  2. a voice
    1. of the sound of uttered words, (of declarations from heaven, heard though no speaker is seen)
    2. of crying, shouting, lamenting
  3. speech
    1. such as language tone, a tongue

I love the Greek word for this audible sound. Our English word telephone is rooted in this word as are phonetics and phonics, cacophony, symphony, saxophone, microphone, xylophone, megaphone, etc.

Matthew Henry on Matthew 3:17 in his Commentary on Matthew: “To explain and complete this solemnity, there came a voice from heaven, which, we have reason to think, was heard by all that were present. The Holy Spirit manifested himself in the likeness of a dove, but God the Father by a voice; for when the law was given they saw no manner of similitude, only they heard a voice (Deu. 4:12); and so this gospel came, and gospel indeed it is, the best news that ever came from heaven to earth; for it speaks plainly and fully God’s favour to Christ, and us in him.

Think about how often we have prayed to our God asking Him for an answer. We hope to hear from Him. We hope to get a sign. We want to know His will so that we do not stray. And often there is silence, but He hears us in our prayers, in our hearts and minds and souls.

And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him. 1 John 5:14-15

We may rarely physically hear, see, or feel an answer from God yet He provides it at the appropriate time…His perfect timing.

Yet, God spoke audibly:

At the transfiguration of Jesus

He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased; listen to Him.” Matthew 17:5

Matthew Henry on Matthew 17:5 from his Commentary on Matthew:

  • There came a voice out of the cloud, and it was the voice of God, who now, as of old, spake in the cloudy pillar, Ps. 99:7. Here was no thunder, or lightning, or voice of a trumpet, as there was when the law was given by Moses, but only a voice, a still small voice, and that not ushered in with a strong wind, or an earthquake, or fire, as when God spake to Elias, 1 Ki. 19:11, 12. Moses then and Elias were witnesses, that in these last days God hath spoken to us by his Son, in another way than he spoke formerly to them. This voice came from the excellent glory (2 Pt. 1:17), the glory which excelleth, in comparison of which the former had no glory; though the excellent glory was clouded, yet thence came a voice, for faith comes by hearing.
  • What this testimony from heaven was; This is my beloved Son, hear ye him. Here we have, (1.) The great gospel mystery revealed; This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. This was the very same that was spoken from heaven at his baptism (ch. 3:17); and it was the best news that ever came from heaven to earth since man sinned. It is to the same purport with that great doctrine (2 Co. 5:19), That God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself. Moses and Elias were great men, and favourites of Heaven, yet they were but servants, and servants that God was not always well pleased in; for Moses spoke unadvisedly, and Elias was a man subject to passions; but Christ is a Son, and in him God was always well pleased. Moses and Elias were sometimes instruments of reconciliation between God and Israel; Moses was a great intercessor, and Elias a great reformer; but in Christ God is reconciling the world; his intercession is more prevalent than that of Moses, and his reformation more effectual than that of Elias.
  • This repetition of the same voice that came from heaven at his baptism was no vain repetition; but, like the doubling of Pharoah’s dream, was to show the thing was established. What God hath thus spoken once, yea twice, no doubt he will stand to, and he expects we should take notice of it. It was spoken at his baptism, because then he was entering upon his temptation, and his public ministry; and now it was repeated, because he was entering upon his sufferings, which are to be dated from hence; for now, and not before, he began to foretel them, and immediately after his transfiguration it is said (Lu. 9:51), that the time was come that he should be received up; this therefore was then repeated, to arm him against the terror, and his disciples against the offence, of the cross. When sufferings begin to abound, consolations are given in more abundantly, 2 Co. 1:5.

Before the Last Supper

“Now is My soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify Your Name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to Him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not Mine. John 12:28-30

In these verses from John 12, God speaks for the sake of those around, for my sake and your’s, even today. We are to glorify the Father in all we are and in all we do. A real reminder! Jesus reminds those around Him that He does glorify His Father and we are to be imitators of Christ. This is not some light and fleeting statement. This is what our walk with the Lord is all about…to glorify Him.

Matthew Henry writes of this glorification in his Commentary on John:

  • 1. How this answer was given. By a voice from heaven. The Jews speak much of a Bath-kól-the daughter of a voice, as one of those divers manners by which God in time past spoke to the prophets; but we do not find any instance of his speaking thus to any but to our Lord Jesus; it was an honour reserved for him (Mat. 3:1717:5), and here, probably, this audible voice was introduced by some visible appearance, either of light or darkness, for both have been used as vehicles of the divine glory.
  • 2. What the answer was. It was an express return to that petition, Father, glorify thy name: I have glorified it already, and I will glorify it yet again. When we pray as we are taught, Our Father, hallowed be thy name, this is a comfort to us, that is it an answered prayer; answered to Christ here, and in him to all true believers. 
    • (1.) The name of God had been glorified in the life of Christ, in his doctrine and miracles, and all the examples he gave of holiness and goodness.
    • (2.) It should be further glorified in the death and sufferings of Christ. His wisdom and power, his justice and holiness, his truth and goodness, were greatly glorified; the demands of a broken law were fully answered; the affront done to God’s government satisfied for; and God accepted the satisfaction, and declared himself well pleased. What God has done for the glorifying of his own name is an encouragement to us to expect what he will yet further do. He that has secured the interests of his own glory will still secure them.

The Father’s answer to this address; for he heard him always, and does still. Observe, 

Three times, the voice was heard from above, speaking to Jesus, speaking about Jesus, speaking to and for the hearers of the Word. God came in ways that were not understood by some standing nearby. The voice was heard as thunder, as an angel, and in words telling those around just Who this Man was and is still today.

So often, we want to hear from God, know the exact answer, the exact moment, the exact person, etc. It is a rare communication we audibly hear with the physical ears that God, our Creator, gave us. Yet, our spirit hears. Our heart hears. There is communication by the Holy Spirit to our spirit from God. It reaches the very depth of our beings. It may come when we read His Word or when we pray or when we are silent before Him. God communicates with us by many paths. Our “inability to hear it cannot invalidate it. Our inability to understand it cannot void it. God’s phōnḗ sounds within His Son’s followers, saying, ‘You are known. You are heard. You are loved. You are mine. I, your heavenly Father, keep My promises.'” **

Jesus, the Son of God, heard His Father all of the time. Jesus is always with the Father. The two communicated continuously and directly with one another.

No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him. John 1:18 KJV

Dearest Father, Christ is my life as He is my Lord and Savior. Please open the ears of my heart because I want to hear You. I want to know You more and more. You know all about everything. You touch every piece of Your creation for always. You know the number of hairs on my head. You know where I am to be when. You know where every sparrow is and when they fall from the sky. Your Providence is magnificent. I want to be close to You that I can know and understand Your will for me. I desire to be obedient. I desire to be submissive to and for You. Guide me in the ways that You want me to go. If Your voice is not to be audible to my ears, please let me understand the inaudible sounds, the quiet words, and the silent guidance. Through Your Word, through silence, through others’ voices, through the beauty that surrounds me, through the love for and from those many ‘one anothers,’ I ask You to make Your message clear to my spirit by Your Spirit. Please block the many sounds of this world, Father, so that Your voice reigns in strength in my being. I want to hear You, Lord. I want to know You. I desire You and You alone. Continue to help me ‘decrease’ as You ‘increase.’ I bow before You this day, oh Lord. I love You so. I pray all in the beautiful Name of Jesus. Amen.

audible colors @ byjus.com

audible range @ yourwidlife.org

*root meaning of “phone” @ etymology.com

Photo/graphics of Matthew 3:16-17 @<a href=”http://Photo by <a href=”https://unsplash.com/@sotti?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText”>Shifaaz shamoon</a> on <a href=”https://unsplash.com/s/photos/sea?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText”>Unsplash Shifaaz shamoon on Unsplash / graphics added by me @ Pixlr

Photo/graphics of Matthew 17:5 @ Heartlight.org

Photo of Thunderstorm @ <a href=”http://Photo by <a href=”https://unsplash.com/@noaa?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText”>NOAA</a&gt; on <a href=”https://unsplash.com/s/photos/lightning-brandon-morgan?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText”>UnsplashNOAA on Unsplash / graphics added by me @ Pixlr

Luke 11:28 photo/graphics @ bible.com

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

THE Cross, THE Resurrection, and Me

…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Phil 3:10-11

ἀνάστασις

anastasis

1.a raising up, rising (e. g. from a seat)
2.a rising from the dead 
a. that of Christ b. that of all men at the end of the present age c. the resurrection of certain in ancient Jewish story who were restored to life before burial

What do these have to do with me? EVERYTHING!!

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:3-8

I am born again…as of July 17, 1993. I was born once of my parents, of water. I was born a second time by the Spirit of God. No, I did not know how that happened but it did because God sent His Spirit to me when I was seeking Him, when I was asking about Him and knocking on the door for Him. I nailed my sins to the cross with Jesus. Yes, I will live as a human being until God takes me Home, whenever that may be. I am growing in the Lord every day, I pray (I am being sanctified). I want to shine His light into this dark world through the Holy Spirit living within me. I want to walk in obedience to Christ. I read the Word of God and get to know my Creator, my Refuge, my Shepherd, my Redeemer, my Savior and Lord. The cross is where I kneeled before Him, asking for forgiveness for all my guilty sins. He forgave me, and calls me His own. I see the empty grave and know that He is with His Father in Heaven. He has risen from the grave. He is resurrected. One day, because I am His, I, too, will be resurrected to live in Heaven with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I am forever grateful.

I am forever connected to the Cross and the Resurrection!!

Easter is today. For me, these past couple of years, I have called this day Resurrection Sunday instead of Easter Sunday. My church uses that word as the name of what I have always called Easter. It has not only become a new name for this Sunday, but it is what Jesus did for me, for you, upon the Cross. It is what Jesus did from the grave…He rose alive. These Truths have taken on a far deeper meaning for me with each passing year. Jesus rose from the grave three days after His death on the Cross, never to die again.

THE CROSS

Friday, we celebrated Good Friday. Jesus died on that Friday over 2,000 years ago. It was a horrific death nailed, hands and feet, to a cross. It was a way of execution, capital punishment. “Crucifixion was most frequently used to punish political or religious agitators, pirates, slaves, or those who had no civil rights. In 519 BCE Darius I, king of Persia, crucified 3,000 political opponents in Babylon; in 88 BCE Alexander Jannaeus, the Judaean king and high priest, crucified 800 Pharisaic opponents; and about 32 CE Pontius Pilate had Jesus of Nazareth put to death by crucifixion.” *

So this form of death had been around and used for a long time: “Crucifixion, an important method of capital punishment particularly among the Persians, Seleucids, Carthaginians, and Romans from about the 6th century BCE to the 4th century CE. Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor, abolished it in the Roman Empire in the early 4th century CE out of veneration for Jesus Christ, the most famous victim of crucifixion.” *

So why do we call crucifixion Friday “good?” It is an awful way of death. Humiliation was a large part of crucifixions: the person was naked, flogged/scourged to the point of severe bleeding; yelling and screaming at the victim took place as well. There was usually a procession to the place of crucifixion (in Roman times, it was led by the Roman Guard, headed by a centurion). This brutal method of capital punishment was a very public “ceremony” in order to place fear in others, to deter criminals from breaking Roman laws.

“For Christians, Good Friday is a crucial day of the year because it celebrates what we believe to be the most pivotal day in the history of the world. On Good Friday, Jesus willingly suffered and died by crucifixion as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. … It’s called Good Friday because, by Jesus’ death, he became the final, complete sacrifice for our sins. We couldn’t have erased our sins. Our hands would have been forever stained with every single sin for a lifetime. But Jesus broke the bonds of death and sin!” **

If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. 1 John 1:10

Jesus bore the Cross for me, for you, that we would receive mercy and grace for our sins. We can choose to seek His face, asking for forgiveness of those sins. We can choose to acknowledge Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior for He saved us from eternal damnation in hell with the evil one, satan. By dying in our place on that Cross, a place where we should have hung, He died once for us each and all. By choosing Jesus, we also agree, wholeheartedly, that He arose from the dead to live again and forever. He returned to His rightful place at the right side of His Father, our Father God, to live forever in Heaven. We choose Him and we choose life…Eternal life with Jesus in the heavenly places. Oh, I pray this is your choice.

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

THE RESURRECTION

Charles H. Spurgeon preached many a sermon on the resurrection of the Christ. This is from one of those:

Once more–the resurrection of Christ is operating at this present time with a quickening power on all who hear the Word aright. The sun is, to the vegetable world, a great source of growth. In this month of April he goes forth with life in his beams and we see the result. The buds are bursting, the trees are putting on their summer dress, the flowers are smiling and even the seeds which we buried in the earth are beginning to feel the vivifying warmth. They see not the lord of day but they feel his smile. Over what an enormous territory is the returning sun continually operating! How potent are his forces when he crosses the line and lengthens the day!

Such is the risen Christ. In the grave He was like the sun in His winter solstice but He crossed the line in His resurrection. He has brought us all the hopes of Spring and is bringing us the joys of Summer. He is quickening many at this hour and will yet quicken myriads. This is the power with which the missionary goes forth to sow. This is the power in which the preacher at home continues to scatter the seed. The risen Christ is the great Producer of harvests. By the power of His resurrection men are raised from their death in sin to eternal life.***

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, Who is coming into the world.” John 11:25-27

I rejoice in the resurrection of You, my Christ. You died on my behalf and You live this very day with God, our Father. I will, one day, be with You. Yes, Lord, I will have trials and will suffer, but nothing compared to the suffering that You endured for me…on that cross and in the grave. But You rose from death and, now, will live for always. I will die one day on earth, but You will raise me up to be with You forever and ever. If You return before I die, I will then live forever with You. Whether in Heaven with You or on earth alive, I desire to worship, praise, honor, glorify, and love You. I desire to shine Your light of salvation and be a harbor of Your love wherever I am. I love You so much. I am truly blessed to be one of your sheep. In Your Holy and Resurrected Name, I pray. Amen.

The Empty Cross @ pursuingprayer.blog

Philippians 3:10-11 graphic/photo @ BibleStudyTools.com

*from Encyclopedia Britannica.com on “Crucifixion”

**from Crosswalk – “Good Friday”

Knowing Jesus – What Does Philippians 3:10 Mean? @ Knowing-Jesus.com

*** from THE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION by C.H. Spurgeon (1834-1893)

“That I May Know Him” graphic @ Perfecting of the Saints

To Covet; Not to Covet

“I covet your prayers.”

I have heard this sentence uttered many times.

Then there is the Tenth Commandment:

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” Exodus 20:17

So what does to covet mean? How can I be obedient to God yet still covet someone’s prayers?

Of course, that leads me on a word study!

In the Hebrew:

חָמַד

ḥāmaḏ, châmad

to desire, take pleasure in, delight in, to delight greatly, desire greatly, to lust

From the very beginning, the word, covet, was used in different ways.

And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:9

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Genesis 3:6

Looking closer at this Hebrew word in the two contexts:

More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
Psalm 19:10

For He grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
He had no form or majesty that we should look at Him,
and no beauty that we should desire Him
. Isaiah 53:2

Do not desire her beauty in your heart,
and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes;
…. Proverbs 6:25

They covet fields and seize them,
and houses, and take them away;
they oppress a man and his house,
a man and his inheritance.
Micah 2:2

And then in the Greek:

ἐπιθυμέω

epithymeō (Key word)

to set one’s heart upon, to have a desire for, to have a longing for (especially for what is forbidden); absolutely, to desire; have a craving for; to lust after, covet, of those who seek things forbidden, to have desires opposed to a thing, to long for, covet a thing; of sexual desire; a longing

And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Hebrews 6:11-12

But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:28

Where is my heart? Is it for God only? Or is it straddling the line between Heaven and the world? Or is it for the world only?

God wants things for us. Where the line is drawn is in the position of my heart and mind. They need to be rightly fixed upon the Lord. He has a plan for me. His will for me most likely includes some “things.” Whether or not there are “worldly” things, His will is what I must desire. He will provide. I am to trust Him for my needs. I should have no need to be jealous or envious of others’ things. Envy and jealousy are not to be a part of my mind nor my heart. I am to be growing in holiness as He sanctifies me. Thus, I am to be content in all I am and all I have while I walk with and near to my Christ. So when one “covets” my prayers, my love, my care, or my concern, they are desiring these for the possibility of being touched by the hand of God, for He may be using me on behalf of my brother or sister in Christ. My heart and mind need to be directed to God and not at myself, nor even to the person coveting my prayers. God is the focal point from which those prayers, that love or care is coming from and is directed by Him through me if my heart and mind are right with God.

Romans 7:4-8:2 is a long passage yet it is extremely important to what I am wishing to learn through these two meanings of covet. Plus, these verses show me how confused I can become when I lean on my own understanding. Take your time and read these verses slowly.

Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to Him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.

What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead.

I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.

For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. Romans 7:4-8:2

From Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Romans 7: The more pure and holy the heart is, it will have the more quick feeling as to the sin that remains in it. The believer sees more of the beauty of holiness and the excellence of the law. His earnest desires to obey, increase as he grows in grace. … For as the believer is under grace, and his will is for the way of holiness, he sincerely delights in the law of God, and in the holiness which it demands, according to his inward man; that new man in him, which after God is created in true holiness.

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. I Timothy 6:6-10

Father, guard my heart and mind that I would always be content in all of my circumstances. I want to walk in Your ways for the rest of my life, Lord. I do not desire to be jealous or envious. Please forgive me when I am. I am sorry. Teach me to love all, Lord, no matter how rich or poor. I have been given the greatest gift of all. This gift is Christ, Your Son. I have been saved by the Blood of the Lamb and have all that there is to have. He gave His all for me. I do not need to want what others have. I do not need to wish for anything but to walk in His grace for the rest of my days. I want to walk a straight and narrow path to Your heart. I want to be close to You and desire that which You desire for me. Teach me to be content. Teach me to covet that which You have already planned and prepared for me. Guard my eyes and ears, my heart and mind from things of this world. May I look, listen, love and contemplate Heavenward and that way alone. You created me and know every bit of me. You also love me, so please guard and guide me, Father, that I covet only that which You orchestrate for me. I pray that I not covet anything against Your will. In the strong Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Cross photo (w/”Coveting” graphic by me): WebStockReview.net

“Do Not Covet” graphic: First Baptist St. Charles

Cloud photo by Pexels (w/graphics by me) @ Pixabay

Graphic Roman 7:22-8:2 @ Desiring God/Youtube

Charles Spurgeon quote on photograph from Pinterest

Christ is Wisdom; Wisdom is Christ

The Book of Proverbs a book of wisdom. Proverbs 8 is where I have landed this week. What is wisdom? Wisdom is that which we are to learn from it:

knowledge

discretion

prudence

sense

“I, wisdom, dwell with prudence,
and I find knowledge and discretion.”
Proverbs 8:12

O simple ones, learn prudence;
O fools, learn sense.
Proverbs 8:5

instruction

knowledge

Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her. Proverbs 8:10-11

counsel

sound wisdom

insight

strength

I have counsel and sound wisdom;
I have insight; I have strength.
Proverbs 8:14

noble things

what is right

truth

Hear, for I will speak noble things, and from my lips will come what is right, for my mouth will utter truth;
wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
Proverbs 8:6-7

righteousness

understanding

All the words of my mouth are righteous; there is nothing twisted or crooked in them. They are all straight to him who understands, and right to those who find knowledge. Proverbs 8:8-9

what is just

the way of righteousness

By me kings reign, and rulers decree what is just; by me princes rule, and nobles, all who govern justly. Proverbs 8:15-16

I walk in the way of righteousness, in the paths of justice, granting an inheritance to those who love me,
and filling their treasuries.
Proverbs 8:20-21

So, why does wisdom seem such a far reach for me at times? Well, much of the time! It seems easier just to walk as the world walks which may include being wise, yet it is usually a worldly wisdom. But that is not my goal. I do not want to be as the world. I want to be as Christ. These verses (along with the entire Book of Proverbs) teach us what wisdom can teach us as well as what we might be learning from this world (thus should be walking away from).

The deep truth of this wisdom from God is that Christ is Wisdom.

And because of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:30-31

And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
Is 11:2

from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Proverbs: “Wisdom here is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; it is Christ in the word and Christ in the heart, not only Christ revealed to us, but Christ revealed in us. It is the word of God, the whole compass of divine revelation; it is God the Word, in whom all divine revelation centres; it is the soul formed by the word; it is Christ formed in the soul; it is religion in the purity and power of it. Glorious things are here spoken of this excellent person, this excellent thing.”

The last half of Proverbs 8 tells all about Christ and wisdom:

22  “The LORD possessed (fathered/created) me at the beginning of His work, the first of His acts of old.

23  Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth.

24  When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water.

25  Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth, 26 before He had made the earth with its fields, or the first of the dust of the world.

2 When He established the heavens, I was there; when He drew a circle on the face of the deep, 28 when He made firm the skies above, when He established the fountains of the deep, 29 when He assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress His command, when He marked out the foundations of the earth, 30  then I was beside Him, like a master workman, and I was daily His delight, rejoicing before Him always, 31  rejoicing in His inhabited world and delighting in the children of man.

32  “And now, O sons, listen to Me: blessed are those who keep My ways.

33  Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it.

34  Blessed is the one who listens to Me, watching daily at My gates, waiting beside My doors.

35  For whoever finds Me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD, 36  but he who fails to find Me injures himself; all who hate Me love death.” Proverbs 8:22-36

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:17-18

that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in Whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:2-3

Growing to know Christ better through reading His Word, the lessons taught by Wisdom show me the character traits of Jesus the Christ. They are of the One Whom I worship and adore. They are Him!

Lord, I pray that my mind and heart be open to You and the lessons which You desire to teach me. I want to know You better. I want to grow to be more like You while at the same time, this ‘Linda’ wants to diminish while You increase. I desire that Your character traits become such a part of me that when others look at me, they see You. I pray for the wisdom of the You, Lord. May Your Holy Spirit show me, grow me, guide me, guard me. Thank You for loving me, Lord. Thank You for drawing me to You as You teach me all about Yourself. I love You, Lord. In Your precious Holy Name I pray. Amen.

Sunrise Photo: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/561331541039235369/

Open Bible: https://wallpapertag.com/wallpaper/full/8/e/d/156009-full-size-open-bible-background-2266×1509

Christ: The Power of God, The Wisdom of God: https://whyjesusnow.com

Matthew Henry’s quote: Matthew Henry’s Commentary of the Proverbs

For My Eyes Have Seen Your Salvation

When Advent is celebrated and pondered in the Christian church, it is as though we are waiting for the appearance or arrival of Christ, for His birth. And we are also waiting for His second coming. For us today, we also praise God for His Presence with us this day by the Holy Spirit. Advent is a time of preparing ourselves spiritually.

Two people we find in the Bible at the time of Christ’s birth had been preparing, seeking, praising God for His promise of the Messiah well before the actual arrival of Jesus the Christ.

When Jesus turned 8 days old, his parents took Him to the temple to be circumcised, as was the custom of the law of the Israelites. So we turn to that eighth day in the life of Jesus. When Mary and Joseph arrived at the temple that day, they experienced two beautiful people, Simeon and Anna, who were waiting. Waiting for their Christ, yet did not know He was about to appear.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the Law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your Salvation that You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a Light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to Your people Israel.” And His father and his mother marveled at what was said about Him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” Luke 2:25-35

And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of Him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. Luke 2:36-38

Simeon had asked God to reveal His Salvation to him before he died. God did. Simeon came in the Holy Spirit Who told him that this was Whom he had asked. Anna knew that this Child was from God and was the redemption of Jerusalem. Anna had been waiting also for such a time as this.

Are you still waiting? He has come. He was born a baby, leaving Heaven to come to Earth as a human being. He walked this earth for thirty-three years spreading His message of deliverance from our sin. He performed miracles. He showed kindness, grace, and mercy to many. He died a terrible death on a cross. He was buried and then arose three days later. Jesus lives this very day. He is waiting for you. He waited for me for 45 years until I kneeled and called Him my Lord and Savior. I read His Word, desiring to become more and more Christlike and to spread His light through my life.

Are you still waiting? Call upon Him. Call His Name. He waits. He will never stop waiting for you. He is our salvation from the sins of this world. I have seen my salvation through the eyes of my heart. I have heard my salvation through the ears of my heart. I pray for each and all of you who need the Lord.

For to us a Child is born,
to us a Son is given;
and the government shall be upon His shoulder,
and His name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:11-12

Lord, I thank You for waiting on me for 45 years, for drawing me near, softening my heart 28 years ago. Thank You for calling me Your child now. Although I am still a sinner and always will be while I walk this earth, You have forgiven me with Your beautiful mercy and grace. You sacrificed Your Only Son to die on the Cross for one such as me. As I walk my life through, I desire to be obedient to Your will for my life. I do not want to sin, yet I am human. I am sorry when I fail You. Guide my steps, Lord, and guard my heart that I would continue to be filled with Your light that shines into this dark, dark world. So many need You NOW Lord. Draw them close, speaking Your Truth into their physical ears and into the ears of their hearts, shining Your Light into their physical eyes and into the eyes of their hearts that they would hear and see You … only You, Lord Jesus. Oh, such a blessing You have been and continue to be to me every moment of my life. Thank You, Father, for sending Jesus, Your Son, into this world to draw many unto Him. And thank You for the many disciples who hear Your call to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. May I walk in the steps of Your will for my life all the remainder of my days on this earth. May I continue to grow to look more and more like You, Lord Jesus, my Christ, my Messiah, my Salvation. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Luke 2:29-32: photo by Larisa-K @ Pixabay – Scripture added by me

Luke 2:38: photo by Larisa-K @ Pixabay – Scripture added by me

John 14:6 – Bible Inspirations.org

I am honored to be featured @ Candidly Christian this morning (January 8, 2021) with this post. The words written before my post link have humbled me so. Valerie Riese says it so beautifully. https://candidlychristian.com/my-eyes-have-seen-your-salvation-grace-truth/

Make Ready A People Prepared

In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years. Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord.  And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”  Luke 1:5-17

Zechariah prays.  God hears his prayer.  He sends an angel, bringing great and yet unbelievable news to Zechariah and Elizabeth.  God’s Truth comes to pass for He said it.

And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of His servant David, as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us; to show the mercy promised to our fathers
and to remember His holy covenant, the oath that He swore to our father Abraham, to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to His people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.
Luke 1:67-80

John was to “…make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

As I prepare for Christmas this year, I am mindful of being drawn closer to Christ Jesus, my LORD, with each day, each passing minute, even seconds.  God gave John a calling to draw people to the LORD Jesus even before He became known.  He was to prepare a people for the coming of Jesus the Christ, the Messiah.  In our own day, we, too, can prepare for His coming as He enters our hearts with newness each year, each Christmas, but also each and every day, each and every moment.  Christ brings cleansing and wholeness to us with each breath.  

May we then be prepared ourselves and turn to prepare others. May we be sensitive to those whose hearts are hardened to Christ, not desiring to know Him, not thinking they need Him. May Your words come out of our mouths to touch those hard hearts and soften those hearts towards Your Son. May the soil be made ready for the seeds to be sown, to sprout, to send down roots, to grow and be fruitful. Prepare us, O LORD.

Father God, I seek You and call upon You to prepare my heart in this Advent season.  I wait.  I wait, Father, for Your Son comes anew although He has been, has gone, rose again, and yet lives in me today through Your Holy Spirit for I am one who had to be prepared for His coming.  I believed.  But I believe today, not in the past tense, for “believing” is ongoing and for always.  Father, breathe in me afresh daily that I would be able to continually be prepared so that I then may prepare others for His coming.  I praise You, Father, for You gave us the Only Gift we would ever need.  Nothing else matters.  Nothing…for until I knew You, nothing meant anything.  I thought ‘things’ meant something to me, but they really did not.  Knowing You, Your Son, Your Holy Spirit, the Trinity, is All that makes a difference in my life.  I know that Your Son is the Redeemer for He redeemed me…yes, even me.  Praise You, LORD.  You are the Holy One of Israel. And He will come again to take believers to His Heavenly Home. Open my mouth, guard my steps, make my life a light to others that I may share the wonderful Truth of Jesus. Make me ready, please. I pray in Your Wonderful Name.  Amen.

Fear not, you worm Jacob,
you men of Israel!
I am the One Who helps you, declares the LORD;
your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.  
Isaiah 41:14

Winter Image by Ina Hoekstra from Pixabay

Image with Luke 1:17: https://www.freeimages.com/photo/mountains-1562932 / danieloo fiatod

spirit…breath

The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD,
searching all his innermost parts.
Proverbs 20:27

The spirit of man…the breath of man…the mind of man…. Those are various interpretations of the Hebrew word for this spirit.

נְשָׁמָה

nĕshamah

blast, breath, inspiration, soul, spirit

God breathed life into man:

...then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. Genesis 2:7

“As God lives, who has taken away my right, and the Almighty, who has made my soul bitter, (3) as long as my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils, my lips will not speak falsehood, and my tongue will not utter deceit. Job 27:2-4

In verse (3), “breath” and “spirit” are both this same Hebrew word, used in different context. When looking at various versions of the Bible, you will notice that “breath” and “spirit” are interchanged at times. For example:

…for while my spirit is still in me, and the breath from God is in my nostrils,… NET

…as long as my breath is still in me and the breath from God remains in my nostrils,… CSB

Thus says God, the LORD,
Who created the heavens and stretched them out,
Who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
Who gives breath to the people on it
and Spirit to those who walk in it: “I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you;…
Isaiah 42:5-6a

Now, in verse 5, the word “breath” is the Hebrew word above, but the word “spirit” is defining the Holy Spirit. The word, רוּחַ, ruwach, does carry many of the same definitions yet, more often, means “the Holy Spirit.”

Sometimes, looking up the Hebrew or Greek becomes important in order to gain the full meaning. Even then, it can become even more confusing. The bottom line is that we must be open to the Holy Spirit in order to be taught what God means in His inerrant Word. Oh, that I would have ears to hear, eyes to see…always, Lord, always.

Back to Proverbs 20:27 ~

The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD,
searching all his innermost parts.
Proverbs 20:27

God is the Father of lights (James 1:17). He sees us where we are, as we are. He loves us even in our sin. He sees all that cannot be seen by the world. Whether it is a thought or a sin, our past, our hidden secrets…God sees all. The word-picture here is that our own breath or spirit or soul lights the way to those things we think are deeply buried. Our hidden nature is really not hidden to us because we have lived it along our life-long journey. Maybe, as we walk this path, we can keep these things quiet, but they are quietly eating away at us. God sees and knows what we need. He desires repentance. He wants to draw us nearer to Himself… to the One Who absolutely loves us.

As God’s light seeks into our dark corners, He also sees all that is good and tells us He is well pleased. If something is unpleasing to Him, the Holy Spirit taps our conscience in order to bring that something out. He wants us to be a reflection of Himself. How can we when we hold dark issues under the surface? We cannot reflect the image of Christ. We must want to though. That is what He called us to do, to be.

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord Who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

And to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:24

Father God, I pray that I hide nothing for which my mind can dwell and haunt my spirit-self and even my physical body. I want to live for You, growing in purity and holiness with each step. I know You know all that is hidden in me. I also know that I don’t want to face anything hard, Lord. That is just my nature. BUT…I also want to be cleaned up for You, my Lord. I do not want to live with things that eat away at me, spiritually and/or physically because then I lose the intimacy with You. I am too busy worrying about keeping something hidden or am wondering if I should say something to someone, and the list goes on and on. I want to have it all opened like a book. I want to repent of my sinful, wayward ways. I want to be forgiven. Thank You, God. I am, indeed, forgiven. Praising God with my every breath as it has less and less to deal with. I love You, Abba Father. In the Wonderful Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

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

Photo: by Martin Winkler, Fotoworkshop4You, Wiener Neudorf/Österreich/Austria – https://pixabay.com/photos/sunbeam-forest-sun-sunset-1547273/ …edited on Canva to add Scripture

Photo: Proverbs 20:27 – https://www.pinterest.com/pin/424605071087762450/?lp=true