Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Disappointment

“The Cape Disappointment headland was first charted in August 1775 as “San Roque” (or “Cabo de San Rougue”) by Spanish explorer Bruno Heceta, as he explored the Northwest Coast. Heceta recognized this location was probably the mouth of a large river but he was unable to explore since his crewmembers were weak and suffering scurvy.”

“In July 1788, Lieutenant John Meares of the British Royal Navy used Heceta’s navigational charts to explore the West Coast of North America while looking for the “River of the West” and located “San Roque.” Meares decided that no river entrance or channel existed among the shoals at the base of “San Roque.” He changed the name of “San Roque” to “Cape Disappointment”.

As a side note: Other explorers came this way and found the river but only as far as they could determine it from the west. We do know that in 1805, the Lewis and Clark Expedition found their way to what they thought was the mouth of the Columbia River, after an arduous 2,000-plus mile journey west from Missouri. Clark exulted in his journal, “Great joy in camp we are in View of the Ocian, this great Pacific Octean which we been So long anxious to See. And the roreing or noise made by the waves brakeing on the rockey Shores (as I suppose) may be heard distinctly.” Unfortunately, it wasn’t really the ocean. Clark had been fooled by the breadth of the lower Columbia’s estuary. The expedition still had eight days of paddling ahead before they finally landed on the north shore and climbed Cape Disappointment to see the ocean itself. Carrying out President Jefferson’s orders to establish the USA’s claim to the Oregon Country, Lewis planted the expedition’s largest American flag on the spot. President Thomas Jefferson had commissioned the expedition shortly after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 to explore, to map this newly acquired territory, to find “the most direct and practicable water communication across this continent, for the purposes of commerce.” [*History*]

There were expectations and hopes as well as disappointments and discouragements. The icing on the cake were those wonderful victories. 

When you’re living in a broken world, sometimes believing and wanting the right things means you’ll be disappointed. Jeremy Pierre *

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

Disappointment takes so many forms and, with our world in such a state as it is today, disappointments seem abundant…maybe no more than in the past, but it sure seems that way! They show up as a circumstance that did not turn out the way we had hoped, or we did not get a certain job, or a health treatment did not work as we had thought it would. Disappointment can come when people do not follow through on a promise or they do not meet the expectations that we place on them. It can come via an action or some other mode. Failing to achieve, failing to be, just a failure can lead to disappointment. Disappointment can bring pain and sorrow to us as we accept the fact that we are disappointed by something or that we disappointed someone.

To live is to be disappointed. Jeremy Pierre *

For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Romans 8:7

I think expectations are the cause for most disappointments; certainly not all. I am disappointed in myself often for things I think or things I do or say. I have allowed disappointment to dwell in me as I watch people decide not to wear a mask so as to prevent the spread of COVID-19 or choosing not to get vaccinated or boosted because of their beliefs. Beliefs I do not understand. I have asked the reason of some and they try to explain, but the answers usually make no sense to me. Some people would rather fight everything: the federal and local governments, health districts and the CDC, politicians, laws, even rulings of the courts, etc. And all seems to raise the bar for disheveled discourse.

I look at the Christian church as a whole to see animosity within its ranks, creating a fervor that further creates division within, which then spreads to with out or maybe the outside is showing up in the church. ??? Maybe some of both! ?? I have actually had two people in my life, who are dear to me, say that they do not desire to be a part of anything so divisively pointed (the church). These ways negatively impact the teachings of Jesus, especially regarding ‘loving one another.’ They see ‘the evangelical church’ (as we hear all Christian churches described more often than not these days) as a group of people who will not use masks or take the vaccines, plus they vote for certain people who stand as angry, willing to be divisive, and seemingly determined to undermine this country’s democracy. “The evangelical church” is seen less and less as perveyor of God’s Truth, or even acting very Christlike. Not all in the church are those people, but for many looking in from the outside, that is what it now may look like. Being a part of the body of Christ makes me realize why there are so many leaving the church today. And what do they see when they look at me? I hope a different picture than this widespread current view.

I am rather naive, I will admit. I began to see a bit of these behaviors back in 2016 in a few people, but I just wrote it off to a fleeting moment. Yet, during these last two years with COVID-19 and the three years prior, I see, more and more now, behaviors amongst many I call sisters and brothers in Christ, people whom I love, have loved, yet am not liking real well right now, are giving me reason to shy away. They look and act so much like the world; not that I do not act in those manners. They have given me reason to PAUSE! Pause life to check my pulse and my heart for breathing in the life-giving air of Jesus. I cannot help but look over my shoulder and question my faith, what I believe or no longer believe, if these same people are who they seem to be, who they claim to be these days. Are they walking with Jesus? I have asked myself if He would walk down these same roads and I keep getting ‘No” for the answer. Lord Jesus, are You walking with me today? I pray so as I draw near to You. Thank You, thank You for drawing near to me.

In a previous post, I have written about being disappointed in another person in my life. He has been one who should have known better yet did not do right by some members of his family. He was given the opportunity to assist and guide a small group of family members as per their inheritance. Instead, he took the reins and ran in his own direction. After years of struggle, releasing what felt like a burden to the Lord, plus plenty of stress, two of us chose to take at least one rein into our own hands for a little while to try to make things far less filled with stress, as we aged. Yet we both would rather have not felt we needed to act on this matter ourselves, for ourselves. We would have like to have stayed in the family trust as it was originally meant for those of us in a certain generation. After we took care of the matter for ourselves, we gave that one rein back.

I pray for the whole family, especially for him, as all would desire, I am sure, that things go smoothly from here on out. Lord, please guide the hands and minds of the one leading. In Your Holy Name, I pray. Amen.

I look around my world, and must ask why so many people act so mean, or so obstinate, or are so angry with so much, or tout with pride before others as if all the world is only watching them. I am sad…disgusted. I just expect better, expect more. And that is the problem: my EXPECTATIONS!

When I expect something, it is my opinion, my mindset of how something should be or will be done. It is based on my perception, but, in most cases, involves others to bring it to pass. Thus, when that someone does not do what I expect, I am disappointed. I have judged and that is not His way either.

Forgive me, Lord.

Disappointment often calls me to grieve the circumstance, grieve the situation, grieve the person. Lamenting, an expression of sorrow or grief, allows me to release the heartache or stress or turbulence I feel. It allows me to call out to God in my sadness, my sorrow. It is letting go.

I ask You, Lord, for Your forgiveness for my ways, for my stubbornness, for my need to be in control. I am sorry, Father. I desire peace in my relationships and calm in the ways of business and respect between each other as well as between all. Yet, these things cannot and do not always happen, at least in my timeline. Lift me to You, Lord, that I may be more peaceable, more patient and calm, plus filled with respect for others and even with myself. In Your Precious Son’s Name. Amen.

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:1-2

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Galatians 5:13

These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace; do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the LORD.” Zechariah 8:16-17

Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3

So…rather than be disappointed, I will lift my face, my mind, my heart to the One Who is in control. He never changes but desires that I do.

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

God tells me again and again:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality. Colossians 3:23-25

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:4-5

AMEN. Jesus, You have overcome this world. Trusting in You is the answer to all my concerns.

Expressing our disappointments to God is the opposite of harboring them in our souls. Jeremy Pierre *

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from Him.
Psalm 62:5

What would You have me to do or to be, LORD? I ask because I want to know. I want to be in Your will, to walk quietly, and to be surrounded by Your peace, Abba Father.

For all the promises of God find their Yes in Him. That is why it is through Him that we utter our Amen to God for His glory. 2 Corinthians 1:20

Father God, thank You for hearing my cry. I thank You for going before me as I release my friends, this man, the many others in the church…to You, to Your unselfish ways, to Your righteousness, into Your grace I lay all at Your feet. Teach me to pray rightly, whether I pray for people or circumstances or both. Open my eyes and my heart that I will accept Your outcome…Thy will be done. Father God, You are worthy and mighty. May I be reminded of those ways each and every day, especially in those moments where I begin to place expectations. It is not about me nor about a person nor a circumstance. Show me the path which leads to hope. It is all about You! My Hope and My Redeemer. I praise Your Name and lift this prayer to You in the Power of Your Son’s Holy Name. Amen.

Photo of Cape Disappointment: by weathercrazy82 @ Weather Underground (link no longer active); “disappointment” added via Canva by me

[*History*] of Cape Disappointment:’ Oregon.com

Map #1 from National Park Maps

*”” from TableTalk article – The Reality of Disappointment by Jeremy Pierre, May, 2018

Map #2 – 1849 USGS -Geological Survey: 1849 Map (section of original), Alexander Ross’s Columbia River. (Click to enlarge). Original Map: Map of the Columbia to illustrate Ross’s adventures. Author: Alexander Ross; Publication Date: 1849; Publisher: London, Smith, Elder and Co., 1849. Washington State University Archives #WSU478. — Washington State University Early Washington Maps Digital Collection Website, 2004

Map #3 @ Flickr

“No Expectations” Graphic: http://www.sharonstokes.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/AdobeStock_91720852.jpeg

Map #4 – Washington State University archives

Map #5 @ Wheelin-It

Charles Swindoll quote: https://www.heartlight.org/gallery/5767.html

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse Sepia photo by Brendon William Cooper @ Flickr

“Yes and Amen” Graphic: http://esauproject.com

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

O LORD, I Want to Know Joy, to Feel Hope, AGAIN!

Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. John 16:20

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13

I believe Your Word, LORD because You speak to my heart. I doubt because I am human.

Sorrow

Sadness

Overwhelm

Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress;
my eye is wasted from grief;
my soul and my body also.
Psalm 31:9

The United States of America has been home for my entire 74 years on this earth.

I love this country. It has been a place where I hold memories filled with love and joy, loss, and struggles. The USA has been my home, such a wonderful home to and for me.

Yet, there is so much now…on this very day…for a number of years…that I no longer recognize as ‘part and parcel’ of the United States (‘with part meaning “a portion” and parcel “something integral with a whole’ *).  There are parts of this country that no longer fit with the whole of the country I have always known as home.

I recognize most of the natural landscape although even some of that is filled with burned forests, lakes so low that one can no longer swim or sail in them. Waterfalls have less flowing down the sides of mountains, and more animals are becoming extinct.

Yet, I can see God’s changeless beauty in His handiwork in the likes of the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, the Oregon coastline, and many other places such as these.

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims His handiwork
. Psalm 19:1

And there are kindhearted people around me, too. Some are strangers to me but they hold a door open while I walk through, smiling behind a masked face. Some are people I do know who call to check on me, just to say ‘hi.’ Some are family who calls for a weekly conversation. New friends in my new city have invited me to go with them to an outdoor art show, and then again to a “Chocolate Walk.” Joy, kindness, peace, love flowed around and through us.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

Yet, there is so much anger, animosity, hatred, and fear in our country and the world today.

My joy is gone; grief is upon me;
my heart is sick within me
. Jeremiah 8:18

Desires to commit violence against others for reasons I cannot comprehend: the amount of the pigment melanin in one’s skin, one’s religious beliefs, political bent or absolute, even a look someone gives another. So many cruel reasons for hatred and violence. Trials are being held all around the country as I type. Three men with very little melanin in their skin shot an unharmed jogger who happened to have a lot of melanin because they suspected him of being a thief. A white boy went to a Bible study with a gun and shot nine parishioners who all were Black after studying and praying with them.

How can this be?

We all have a degree of melanin in our skin, hair, eyes: “a dark brown to black pigment occurring in the hair, skin, and iris of the eye in people and animals. It is responsible for tanning of skin exposed to sunlight.”**

Violence against one another with American flags on January 6, 2020, killing and maiming. Threatening many with death and harm. A continuing threat of hatred and anger is perpetuating in so many arenas.

Why is there so much hatred fueling these fires?

The USA is a Democracy. The people have a say in the way the country is governed. When the United States became an independent nation, the Continental Congress set up the Constitution and the way of governance. It still stands today. Yet, voting integrity is threatened because many did not like the outcome of recent elections so they have decided to rig the elections so that they will win. Our democracy is being threatened by those who fear loss. They threaten those who are in positions to secure the elections…threats at their home’s doorsteps, at their cars after work, on the walkways as they do their jobs. One political party against the other party, higher-ranking members of government stripping other members of their committee assignments, people calling one another liars and traitors, using vitriolic language…and the list goes on and on. Some are attempting to do their jobs. Others do not! Divisiveness is overbearing to me!

What is happening?

We may not have a Democracy for long, I fear myself.

How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Psalm 13:2

I grieve these losses to my precious country. I watch in plain sight things being taken, stolen, threatened, stabbed again and again. It is not only lives being lost but the underlying whole of the United States of America…on the verge of being lost.

Grief overpowers me at times.

This nation has been built by the hands and on the backs of immigrants. I come from people who immigrated from Scotland, Ireland, England, Italy, Germany, Holland, and maybe even other countries. They worked hard to make this nation what it has been. Some of each batch of immigrants did indeed harm the next nation of immigrants by belittling their culture, making fun of their lack of language to communicate, maybe even their skin color, making assimilation hard for each new incoming group. But we are a nation of immigrants. How can we turn people away with violence and family separation when our very own relatives came here for a better life. Some of my relatives came because of religious persecution in their home country. Others came because of famine in their home country. Others immigrated for work, for masonry/bricklaying jobs in the big cities being built…all for a better life.

Bricklayers Building Wrigley Field Bleachers/Chicago History/Horsch Gallery

We come from these people. We could not call America home if they had not come before us.

I weep.

Yet, I hold onto God for He is hope.  He is joy.

Is not your fear of God your confidence,
and the integrity of your ways your hope?
Job 4:6

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him,
my salvation and my God.
Psalm 42:11

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from Him.
Psalm 62:5

My soul clings to the dust;
give me life according to your word!

When I told of my ways, you answered me;
teach me your statutes!

Make me understand the way of your precepts,
and I will meditate on your wondrous works.

My soul melts away for sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word!

Put false ways far from me
and graciously teach me your law!

I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I set your rules before me.

I cling to your testimonies, O LORD;
let me not be put to shame!

I will run in the way of your commandments
when you enlarge my heart!
Psalm 119:25-32

“Great thoughts of your sin alone will drive you to despair; but great thoughts of Christ will pilot you into the haven of peace.” – Charles Spurgeon

“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.” – C.S. Lewis

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9

“…when You enlarge my heart!” (Psalm 119:2) Yes, Lord, please enlarge my heart. Calm my soul. Fill me with love. May Your love overflow to others as we pass it on to the next. I want to shine Your light in this dark and ever-darkening world. I desire Your joy to spread across the path that You have laid before me. Your hope and joy are two things I lose myself. Fill me up to overflowing because we all need hope in these torrential times. Let me not be angry nor fueled by hatred. Take any frustration from me with those I do not understand. There is so very much I do not understand, LORD. Draw me in and teach me Your ways that I will know You so well that even when I misunderstand or just don’t get another’s ways, Your ways will penetrate so deeply that I can shine Your beautiful light into this country I call home, into this world upon which I live. Grant to me Your peace and Your grace and Your mercy, Your hope and Your joy, O LORD. In the Name of Jesus, Your Son, I pray. Amen.

 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10

“Sorrow turned to Joy” photo @ St James – LCMS

 * ‘part and parcel’ – The American Heritage Dictionary

Charles Spurgeon quote @ AZQuotes

Rose – Love @ Public Domain

Marigold – Despair and grief over the loss of love @ FlowerMeaning.org

** melanin: The Oxford Lexico

Photo of immigrants coming into New York City harbor/Statue of Liberty @ Lessons from History/UCLA

Bricklayers in Chicago/Wrigley Field @ Horsch Gallery. (My Grandpa was a bricklayer in Chicago and loved the Cubs. Grandpa was born in 1891 so he could very well have been a part of this. The man in the dark overalls with his back to the photographer looks a lot like him!?? His father immigrated from Italy in the mid-1800s and was a bricklayer.)

Gardenia – Hope @ FlowerMeaning.org

Iris – Joy @ Espoused to Him

Lavender – Peace @ FlowerMeaning.org

Fruit of the Spirit photo/graphic: @ Bibles Verses to Go

Snapdragons – Strength @ WallpaperFlare

 

 

 

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Gather

On the surface, the word “gather” seems simple enough to understand. But in the context of the Scriptures I have been rooting around in, it is not an easy word for it brought up death before Christ came to save us from our sins.

The Old Testament often tells us that when the Hebrew fathers and descendants died, they were gathered to their people or to their fathers.

Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people. Genesis 25:8

(These are the years of the life of Ishmael: 137 years. He breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people.). Genesis 25:17

And Isaac breathed his last, and he died and was gathered to his people, old and full of days. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him. Genesis 35:29

When Jacob finished commanding his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed and breathed his last and was gathered to his people. Genesis 49:33

“Let Aaron be gathered to his people, for he shall not enter the land that I have given to the people of Israel, because you rebelled against my command at the waters of Meribah. Take Aaron and Eleazar his son and bring them up to Mount Hor. And strip Aaron of his garments and put them on Eleazar his son. And Aaron shall be gathered to his people and shall die there.” Number 20:24-26

The LORD said to Moses, “Go up into this mountain of Abarim and see the land that I have given to the people of Israel. When you have seen it, you also shall be gathered to your people, as your brother Aaron was, because you rebelled against My word in the wilderness of Zin when the congregation quarreled, failing to uphold Me as holy at the waters before their eyes.” (These are the waters of Meribah of Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.). Numbers 27: 12-14

And the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, you are about to lie down with your fathers…. Deuteronomy 31:16

That very day the LORD spoke to Moses, “Go up this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, opposite Jericho, and view the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel for a possession. And die on the mountain which you go up, and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died in Mount Hor and was gathered to his people, because you broke faith with me in the midst of the people of Israel at the waters of Meribah-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, and because you did not treat me as holy in the midst of the people of Israel. For you shall see the land before you, but you shall not go there, into the land that I am giving to the people of Israel.” Deuteronomy 32: 48-52

And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD or the work that he had done for Israel. Judges 2:10

But to the king of Judah (King Josiah), who sent you to inquire of the LORD, thus shall you say to him, Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Regarding the words that you have heard, because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the LORD, when you heard how I spoke against this place and against its inhabitants, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and you have torn your clothes and wept before Me, I also have heard you, declares the LORD. Therefore, behold, I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, and your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring upon this place.’” And they brought back word to the king. 2 Kings 22:18-20

God gathers His own, in death and at other times, to their people, their fathers.

אָסַף

ʼâçaph

‘āsap̄

pronounced: aw-saf’

  1. to gather, receive, remove, gather in:
  2. to gather, collect, to gather (an individual into company of others), to bring up the rear, to gather and take away, remove, withdraw
  3. to assemble, be gathered
  4. to be gathered to one’s fathers, to be brought in or into (association with others)
  5. to be taken away, removed, perish
  6. to gather (harvest), to take in, receive into, rearguard, rearward (subst), to be gathered, to gather oneself or themselves

I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob;
I will gather the remnant of Israel;
I will set them together
like sheep in a fold,
like a flock in its pasture,
a noisy multitude of men.
Micah 2:12

Shepherds must gather their sheep as they are most unable to do much for themselves. They need guidance and rescuing and picking up when they fall. They need to be protected from wolves and illness. God refers to us as sheep often in the Bible. We need guidance and protection, healing and rescuing, and so much more. Our stubborn and sinful ways can get us off God’s path for us. Thus, our need is to listen, pray, and accept help from the One Who has plans for us and will guide us in all ways. He is our Shepherd.

As he looked, he saw a well in the field, and behold, three flocks of sheep lying beside it, for out of that well the flocks were watered. The stone on the well’s mouth was large, and when all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone from the mouth of the well and water the sheep, and put the stone back in its place over the mouth of the well. Genesis 29:2-3

As one sows, we also are to reap, to gather up the harvest:

You shall keep the Feast of Harvest, of the firstfruits of your labor, of what you sow in the field. You shall keep the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in from the field the fruit of your labor. Exodus 23:16

God calls us to gather to Him….

Gather to Me My faithful ones,
who made a covenant with Me by sacrifice!”
Psalm 50:5

What about those who died during Old Testament times? Yes, they were gathered with family, but where were they when gathered?

In researching the word, gather, out of the Old Testament, a word I really could not quite wrap my head around, I looked deeper into how others defined this word. I found pastors and theologians with thoughts, research of their own, imaginings, that were beyond my original thoughts, helping me to make better sense of how this may be defined.

from David A. Padfield, Gathered To His People, Truth Magazine: “But what does it mean to be gathered to our people? “Gathered” (Hb. acaph) is defined as “to be collected, gathered together . . . used of entering into Hades, where the Hebrews regarded their ancestors as being gathered together. This gathering to one’s fathers, or one’s people is distinguished both from death and burial” (Gesenius’ Hebrew And Chaldee Lexicon, p. 626). William Wilson commented, “To be gathered to his fathers, is a peculiar phrase deserving notice; it is distinguished from death which precedes, and from burial of the body which follows: Gen. xxv. 8; xxxv. 29; 2 Kings xxii. 20. It seems to denote the being received by his own people, or among them. We read in the N.T. of being received into Abraham’s bosom, or of sitting down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven, as at a feast; so that to be gathered to his own people, is to be with them in joy or torment in Hades” (Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies, p. 182). Abraham has been “gathered to his people” until that day when his dust shall live again at the sound of the last trumpet, and all the buried dead shall hear the voice of the Son of Man….” *

from Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament: “This expression, which is synonymous with ‘going to his fathers‘ (Gen. 15:15), or ‘being gathered to his fathers‘ (Judg. 2:10), but is constantly distinguished from departing this life and being buried, denotes the reunion in Sheol with friends who have gone before, and therefore presupposes faith in the personal continuance of a man after death, as a presentiment which the promises of God had exalted in the case of the patriarchs into a firm assurance of faith (Heb. 11:13).” **

from John McArthur Study Helps: “‘Hades’ was the Greek term for the abode of the dead. In the LXX (Septuagint), it was used to translate the Hebrew Sheol, which referred to the realm of the dead in general, without necessarily distinguishing between righteous or unrighteous souls. However, in NT usage, ‘Hades’ always refers to the place of the wicked prior to final judgment on hell. The imagery Jesus used paralleled the common rabbinical idea that Sheol had two parts, one for the souls of the righteous and the other for the souls of the wicked–separated by an impassable gulf. But there is no reason to suppose, as some do, that ‘Abraham’s side’ spoke of a temporary prison for the souls of the OT saints, who were brought to heaven only after he had actually atone for their sins. Scripture consistently teaches that the spirits of the righteous dead go immediately into the presence of God (Luke 23:43, 2 Cor. 5:8, Phil. 1:23). And the presence of Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration (Luke 9:30) belies the notion that they were confined in a compartment of Sheol until Christ finished His work.“***

We humans can do our best to understand God’s path for the Old Testament people, the Israelites. We do know that God loves the Israelites. They are His children. I need to not worry about them and trust that God has them in His way!! He writes:

Precious in the sight of the LORD
is the death of his saints.
Psalm 116:15

God gathers His own to their people and to Him. He draws them in, guides them in as a shepherd leads his flock to pastures and water. This feels so very peaceful to me as I ponder this word, gather, regarding death, calling His saints home.

As I age, death can be on my thoughts from time to time, but because I know that Christ came to call me to Himself, death is not a fearful future for me. Knowing that God will shepherd me Home when it is my time is, actually, such a sweet thought for me. I can truly rest in His calling. I can rest in His guidance until that moment. I can rest.

“Far be it from You to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” Genesis 18:25

Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy!  For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead. Isaiah 26:19

I shall ransom them from the power of Sheol; I shall redeem them from Death. O Death, where are your plagues?  O Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion is hidden from my eyes. Hosea 13:14

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Daniel 12:2

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.  And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.  And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.  Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.  And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:11-15

God knows where His children will be. They will be with Him. That is what is important. We on earth try to figure everything out, but God’s plans are perfect and we need to rest in Him. If we are in Christ Jesus, we have been adopted into the family of God and will be with God when we die. PERIOD.

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3

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. 1 Peter 1:3-5

And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:17

Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life. 1 John 2:24-25

LORD, You died for my sins, and have forgiven me. Gratitude overflows. I am so sorry that I have sinned against You. By Your forgiveness, I have been born anew. I am Yours. Hallelujah! Oh, What a Savior! You have given me eternal life and I will spend eternity with You. Thank You, Lord Jesus. I am gathered to You, needing You as my Shepherd. You are my very present Help in times of trouble, my Refuge and Strength. I know as I age, physical death looms, but I am not afraid for You are with me. I carry hope because You are near and will carry me over that threshold in Your arms. I asked of, believed in, and abided in You. There will be no spiritual death for me. I will be gathered to You and am so blessed. Thank You, O my Holy Father. In the Name of my Savior, I pray. Amen.

Photo from Kauai/”Gather:” taken by me; graphic added by me

“Gather” rocks @ https://medium.com/lets-gather/get-ready-to-gather-42c4e5f59197

Sheep @ water trough photo @ Flickr

wheat photo @ www.wallpaperflare.com

* from Gathered To His People @ Truth Magazine, David A. Padfield, Evansville, Indiana, Guardian of Truth XXXII: 19, pp. 580, 597, October 6, 1988

** Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch, vol. 1, Commentary on the Old Testament(Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1996), 168.

***John McArthur Study Helps/Luke 16:23, from The MacArthur Study Bible, 1997

Photo/graphic – Psalm 116:15 @ pinterest

Photo/graphic – 1 John 2:24-25 @ pinterest

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Trust in…Trust is…the LORD

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:7-8

Oh, may we place our trust in the LORD at all times at this time of COVID-19. May we trust Him, our Creator, our Protector, our Guide for He is our very All in all, All of all. He is Trust itself. May we stand firmly in Him like that tree planted by the water’s edge. May we not fear, nor be anxious. May this be so, LORD Jesus. In Your healing and powerful Name, I pray. Amen.

We are in territory that this world has not seen in many-a-year. Most of us now living on this earth have never experienced anything like this virus, nor the many repercussions that are sprouting up with it. COVID-19 is not particular about who it attacks. People around the world in most age-brackets are falling ill to this CoronaVirus; many are dying. Many have lost jobs. Countries, states, cities are closing down, quarantining their populations. Many people are living in fear. Many have been so panicked by the huge changes in our way of life that buying and hoarding was out-of-control and may still be. Many do not know where their next meal comes from; far more than usual are in the food bank lines. Those living with the virus and recovering at home may be afraid, There are so many unknowns about this virus. My heart breaks for those who cannot see a loved one because they live in a quarantined/closed nursing home, assisted living, hospital. And as I write this, some states and countries around the world are beginning to “reopen” so they can restart the economy. We are all living in new territory these days.

TRUST…

Who is my trust?

Below is Jeremiah 17:7 in a few different versions of the Bible. As you read, notice the way the tiny word “is” (the second phrase) changes the way we may look at the word “trust:”

Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. KJV

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
And whose hope is the LORD.”
NKJV

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD
And whose trust is the LORD.”
NASB

…whose hope the LORD IS!

…whose hope is the LORD!

…whose trust is the LORD!

IS the LORD!

…who trusts in the Lord…whose trust is the Lord. Those two two-letter words say a lot in those two phrases. Yes, I trust in the Lord, leaning upon the One Who is faithful and true. He stands with me through it all. I trust in the LORD for He cares for and about me. I trust in the LORD because I am learning just Who the LORD is.

When my trust and hope is the Lord, I am trusting the One Who is Trust. He is worthy to be praised for I know that I have placed my faith in Jesus and know that He is the Only One Who is completely trustworthy, the Trust I count upon. As I come to know Him more and more, I come to trust Him more and more. I stand upon the character of God in order that I may throw my whole self into His arms.

He is Hope. He is Salvation. He is Peace. He is Love. He is Trust. He is all that the Bible says He is! Understanding Who the LORD is allows us to depend upon the One Whom is dependable, trust the One Who is trustworthy. This is Who God is!

The Psalms often tell us vividly Who God is! The more we know Him, the more we can trust Him.

The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed,
stronghold in times of trouble
. Psalm 9:9

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in Whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:2

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1

But I will sing of Your strength;
I will sing aloud of Your steadfast love in the morning.
For You have been to me a fortress
and a refuge in the day of my distress.
Psalm 59:16

But let all who take refuge in You rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy,
and spread Your protection over them,
that those who love Your name may exult in You. For You bless the righteous, O LORD; You cover him with favor as with a shield.
Psalm 5:11-12

Let us return, for just a moment, to Jeremiah 17:7…

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose trust is the LORD.
Jeremiah 17:7

Matthew Henry comments upon verse 7:

Concerning the abundant satisfaction which those have, and will have, who make God their confidence, who live by faith in His providence and promise, who refer themselves to Him and His guidance at all times and repose themselves in Him and His love in the most unquiet times. Observe, the duty required of us – to trust in the Lord, to do our duty to Him and then depend upon Him to bear us out in doing it – when creatures and second causes either deceive or threaten us, either are false to us or fierce against us, to commit ourselves to God as all-sufficient both to fill up the place of those who fail us and to protect us from those who set upon us. It is to make the Lord our hope, His favour the good we hope for and His power the strength we hope in. Matthew Henry

If you do not know Jesus Christ, I pray you will come to trust Him with your life, your family, the food and water you need. I pray you will seek His face for He is the Only One Who can provide, heal, comfort and love you even though you are a sinner; we all are. He forgives and loves us unconditionally. His provision and healing may come in ways you are not expecting nor wanting but He knows His plans for you.

Let him who walks in darkness
and has no light
trust in the name of the LORD
and rely on his God.
Isaiah 50:10

Father God, You are everything to me. Everything! You are my Trust, my Hope, my Anchor, my Joy, my Love, my Peace. In the midst of this pandemic, I can hold onto You and know that You are my All. In the midst of quarantine, You are Comfort in which I lie. You are Strength when I am weak. You are the very Breath, giving me life. You are the Living Water, taking away my thirst forever. May I be firmly planted near the waters of life, like that tree. Father, I pray You show Yourself real to those who need Your life-giving waters. May they have eyes to see, ears to hear. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Jeremiah 17:7: Year 27

C. H. Spurgeon quote: https://www.cyndispivey.com/2017/06/04/trusting-god-through-difficult-seasons/

God’s Character: https://www.churchplanting.com/planting-churches-out-of-the-whole-character-of-god/#.XqXpES-z1MM

Corrie ten Boom’s quote: https://www.keepinspiring.me/20-quotes-to-build-trust/

“Trusting a Savior…”: Christopher B. Munday @ Deseret Books

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Pure Joy

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,
for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. James 1:2-6

How in the world can I count these trials as joyful? How?

God also says in Romans 5:

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

So now I can have peace with God too? These trials seem like they couldn’t possibly produce joy nor peace?…or perfection or hope?

YET…God’s Word gives me Truth. So I know that these things are possible. I have not written in this space for quite some time, but God is using the circumstances of Kenneth’s death to show me His love, His people, His little children, His body of Christ, His kindness, His glory. He is showing me that although my heart may hurt from this deep loss, it can also overflow with so much more because He is my joy. He is my love. He is my kindness. He is my all. Dependence upon the One Who is Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent gives me all. I lack for nothing.

I have not hidden away from the world. I have not walked away from His will for my life in Christ. I have not been too disobedient (not much that I am aware of!). I am walking with the One Who saved me from the pit. I am holding close to my Savior because He is. He is alive and risen. He has given me His Holy Spirit to dwell within me. And I am His, walking in the Spirit. I am filled with a joy that is incredibly remarkable.

Is that not amazing?

He fills me with pure joy in the midst of sorrow and struggle. Do you know what else He does? He builds me up. He grows me in His character. He molds me to look more and more like Him. Is that not beautiful? How grateful I am for His love for me. Oh, my sweet Lord. You are changing me day-by-day, moment-by-moment. Thank You, Sweet Jesus.

when you meet trials of various kinds,… James 1:2b

Trials come. Trials can be of all types…physical, emotional, mental, financial, marital, death, and everything else under the sun.

And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:4

I am not perfect and will not be until I pass over the Jordan River into Heaven, but each step of obedience here on earth brings me another step closer to both perfection and Heaven. Christ is molding me to be more and more like Him while I sojourn here. I am the clay and want to be. I desire that molding more and more now too. That is what boggles my mind…that I, willingly, want Him to mold me which takes trials. No vessel is perfect, needing parts redone again and again. The Potter has much work to do on me. I choose to allow Him to form me and make me. I also choose to stay close to Him so that I may endure the current trials and those on ahead.

ὑπομονή

hypomonē

steadfastness, constancy, endurance

in the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings

patiently, and steadfastly

a patient, steadfast waiting for

a patient enduring, sustaining, perseverance

NKJV: But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

NIV: Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

NASB: And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Other Scripture with the same Greek word: ὑπομονή

As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the Word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience. Luke 8:15

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4

Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. 2 Thessalonians 1:4

Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. James 5:11

Matthew Henry wrote: “The graces and duties of a state of trial and affliction are here pointed out to us. Could we attend to these things, and grow in them as we should do, how good would it be for us to be afflicted! One Christian grace to be exercised is joy: ‘Count it all joy.’ We must not sink into a sad and disconsolate frame of mind, which would make us faint under our trials; but must endeavour to keep our spirits dilated and enlarged, the better to take in a true sense of our case, and with greater advantage to set ourselves to make the best of it. Philosophy may instruct men to be calm under their troubles; but Christianity teaches them to be joyful, because such exercises proceed from love and not fury in God. In them we are conformable to Christ our head, and they become marks of our adoption. By suffering in the ways of righteousness, we are serving the interests of our Lord’s kingdom among men, and edifying the body of Christ; and our trials will brighten our graces now and our crown at last. Therefore there is reason to count it all joy when trials and difficulties become our lot in the way of our duty.

Faith is a grace that one expression supposes and another expressly requires: ‘Knowing this, that the trial of your faith,…’ verse 3; and then in verse 6, ‘Let him ask in faith.’ There must be a sound believing of the great truths of Christianity, and a resolute cleaving to them, in times of trial. That faith which is spoken of here as tried by afflictions consists in a belief of the power, and word, and promise of God, and in fidelity and constancy to the Lord Jesus.

There must be patience: ‘The trial of faith worketh patience.’  The trying of one grace produces another; and the more the suffering graces of a Christian are exercised the stronger they grow.”  *

Jesus, my Lord, I come to You, seeking Your face. I want to be near to You, to know You more and more with each passing moment. Is that possible, Lord? How can it be when I am in physical pain, emotional loss, sorrow, spiritual vacuums, and other trials? How can I focus upon You when these trials distract me so? Yet, Lord, You rain grace over me in joy, love, hope, faith, patience and far more than I could even ask. Thank You, sweet Jesus. You reign in my heart. That is what has changed me as I experience trials, Lord. You!…Your Spirit indwelling this earthly vessel. Your graciousness abounds. Thank You for keeping me close to You. You are the One Who generously gives. You are merciful and faithful, Lord God Almighty, overflowing with love for me. I want to grow in the Truth, in the knowledge of You. I want to grow in grace, too. I want to reflect You to the world in which I sojourn. May I be strong through the trials and tribulations so that I may be more like You. Give me wisdom that I would know how to walk through these times. In Your Holy Name, I pray. Amen.

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18

Graphic: Knowing-Jesus.com

Graphic: Daily RCL Bible Reading Devotional @ http://dustoffthebible.com/Blog-archive/2016/05/22/daily-rcl-bible-reading-devotional-may-22nd-2016/

Graphic: http://access-jesus.com

Graphic: Knowing-Jesus.com

* Matthew Henry Commentary on James 1

Graphic: https://www.heartlight.org/gallery

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

After Easter Comes What?

easter

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”  Galatians 2:20

After Easter…how do I live?  Do I go back to ways that forget what the Crucified Christ means to me and how His resurrection affects me?

Easter is central to my Christian beliefs.  His crucifixion is very difficult for me and yet His resurrection is resplendent.  Easter is a beautiful remembrance of all Christ did for me over 2,000 years ago and Who He is to me now.  I want to live intentionally and thoughtfully in regards to what it means to be a person of the Resurrection in my world all year.  I want to continuously experience the Presence of the Living Christ.  I want to then walk in His Presence before others.

Yet, I seem to still be in the womb so much of the time, afraid to come out.  (As a baby in my mother’s womb, I did not want to exit then either!  Mom said her labor was hard and long.  “You just fought,” she said.)  Christ holds me near as I learn to walk in His Light more and more.  I must come out from the womb, that darkness.  I am to do His will on roads, in cafes, in hospital rooms, in homes…the world.  This is not a doable calling from a safe, warm womb.  

He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of His people He will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken.  Isaiah 25:8 ESV

As a person of the Resurrection, I would like to believe that my life shines Christ for others to see, hear, and read, sensing that they have touched the Living Christ, the Hand of God.  Sometimes, this is true, but not always, to be sure.  I want to be less of Linda and more of Christ with each moment.  I am continuously being woven into the tapestry that will be perfect in Eternity…one.thread.at.a.time.

Easter brings HOPE.  As a person of the Resurrection, I pray I am able to offer the beauty of HOPE to a world that finds reasons all around for despair, fear, and hopelessness.

Being a person of the Resurrection allows me to live under the umbrella of God’s GRACE and MERCY.  I accept His forgiveness, offered to me in love.  I pray, too, that I may give these generously.

Easter is all about LOVE“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”  John 3:16  As a person of the Resurrection, I desire to love from His heart, to give from His hand, and share the LORD through my actions, words, love, and life.  May this LOVE cause me to be open and caring towards others. 

As a person of the Resurrection, I do know that the Holy Spirit has come upon me.  I also know that my humanness squelches Him under the Linda that thinks she needs to be in control. Forgive me, LORD.  Please forgive me.  

As a person of the Resurrection, I no longer live in the dark, but carry the Light of Jesus within me as I share light in a dark world.

Delightful Daffodils

God, make me Yours wholly.  Give me courage and strength to be the Linda You desire of me.  Give me wisdom that I would have Your Words and the openness to share Your Truth.   I want to be one of Your people of the Resurrection each and every day, walking in faith.  As You continue to grow me, may I spread hope, love, grace, mercy, and light through Your Truth.  Thank You for giving me life through the death and resurrection of Your One and Only Son, Christ Jesus.  You truly are gracious towards me, Father.  May I carry a Daffodil of peace with me, LORD, wherever I go.  Daffodils just seems to be filled with hope, joy, love, and beauty, all that You are Abba Father.  In the Name of Your Son, I pray.  Amen.

beblacksig

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

O Holy Night

oholynight

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

16769930716_a8a8f9b45f_m

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

Mary responded,

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

16769930716_a8a8f9b45f_m

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

16769930716_a8a8f9b45f_m

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

16769930716_a8a8f9b45f_m 

BW sig dark blue

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Jesus is Our Joy

136721__christmas-joy_p

‘Tis hard to look at this world and see joy at times.  There is so much going on, near us and far away.  It just looks so terrible.  Yet, God sent Jesus to us and for us.  He sent Joy to live in our hearts.  He wants us to be joyful.  As empty vessels, He can fill us with the Presence of His Holy Spirit.  Hope, Joy, Peace, and Love want to fill us up to overflowing so that we can be the joy in this world…the peace in this world…the hope and the love in this world.   He wants us to spread the good tidings of great joy everywhere we go and are.  May this be our prayer.

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.”  Luke 2:10

εὐαγγελίζω

euaggelizō

  • to bring good news, to announce glad tidings (used in the OT of any kind of good news)
  • of the joyful tidings of God’s kindness, in particular, of the Messianic blessings (in the NT used especially of the glad tidings of the coming kingdom of God, and of the salvation to be obtained in it through Christ, and of what relates to this salvation)
  • glad tidings are brought to one, one has glad tidings proclaimed to him
  • to proclaim glad tidings
  • instruct (men) concerning the things that pertain to Christian salvation

joy-to-the-world1

This world so needs the joy of the LORD…

The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the LORD,
and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.  Isaiah 29:18

They lift up their voices, they sing for joy;
over the majesty of the LORD they shout from the west.  Isaiah 24:14

…yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvationHabakkuk 3:18

“…And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”  Nehemiah 8:10b

136721__christmas-joy_p

He has come…

And she gave birth to her firstborn Son and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths and laid Him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”  Luke 2:7-15

136721__christmas-joy_p

from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Luke 2: “He furnishes them with abundant matter for joy: “Behold, I evangelize to you great joy; I solemnly declare it, and you have reason to bid it welcome, for it shall bring joy to all people, and not to the people of the Jews only; that unto you is born this day, at this time, a Saviour, the Saviour that has been so long expected, which is Christ the Lord, in the city of David,’ …. Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed; He is the Lord, Lord of all; He is a sovereign prince; nay, He is God, for the Lord, in the Old Testament, answers to Jehovah. He is a Saviour, and He will be a Saviour to those only that accept Him for their Lord. “The Saviour is born, He is born this day; and, since it is matter of great joy to all people, it is not to be kept secret, you may proclaim it, may tell it to whom you please. …. This is matter of joy indeed to all people, great joy. Long-looked for is come at last. Let heaven and earth rejoice before this Lord, for He cometh.

“The angels’ doxology to God, and congratulations of men, upon this solemn occasion. The message was no sooner delivered by one angel than suddenly there was with that angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts; sufficient, we may be sure, to make a chorus, that were heard by the shepherds, praising God; and certainly their song was not like that which no man could learn, for it was designed that we should all learn it.  Let God have the honour of this work: Glory to God in the highest. God’s good-will to men, manifested in sending the Messiah, redounds very much to His praise; and angels in the highest heavens….  Other works of God are for His glory, but the redemption of the world is for His glory in the highest.

Let men have the joy of it: On earth peace, good-will toward men. God’s good-will in sending the Messiah introduced peace in this lower world, slew the enmity that sin had raised between God and man, and resettled a peaceable correspondence.  If God be at peace with us, all peace results from it: peace of conscience, peace with angels, peace between Jew and Gentile. Peace is here put for all good, all that good which flows to us from the incarnation of Christ.  All the good we have, or hope, is owing to God’s good-will; and, if we have the comfort of it, He must have the glory of it. Nor must any peace, and good, be expected in a way inconsistent with the glory of God; therefore not in any way of sin, nor in any way but by a Mediator. Here was the peace proclaimed with great solemnity; whoever will, let them come and take the benefit of it.” *

unto-us-a-child-is-born2

Father, I come to You this day and sense Your very Presence in my life.  You love me.  You have sent Your One and Only Son, Jesus, to save me from my sins, to draw me near and grow me to be more and more as Jesus, into the image of Your Son.  I can only imagine the blessing that I can be through the obedience to You in my daily walk.  I desire to bless You, Father.  I desire to love You from the very depth of this heart that You created as it fills up with Your Love. 

Thank You for bringing Your Joy to this Earth for our sake.  You give me smiles and hope and peace and love.  You have given me JOY deep in my heart.

I’ve got a joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart
Down in my heart, down in my heart…

I’ve got the love of JESUS down in my heart
Down in my heart, Down in my heart
I’ve got the love of JESUS down in my heart..
Down in my heart to stay….  **

Precious Heavenly Father, the joy I feel, as I sing these songs, takes the stress and strain away that this world carries.  You know all and have complete control.  Thank You for sending Your Son to bring us Hope, Peace, Joy, Love and much more.  As I spend time in Your Word, at the foot of the manger, I know that this Joy is real.  He cometh.  Praise You…Praise You.  Glory be to You, the Father, the Most High.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray with Joy…Amen. 

136721__christmas-joy_p

8213ba8b106f9c53124e7f45360e2f1f

 

* Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Luke 2

**  I’ve Got the Joy (also called: Down in My Heart), George W. Cooke, 1926

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

His Coming Brings HOPE

jesus-gives-us-hope-jesus-28768008-1024-768

By His coming…

  • The Messiah
  • Messianic Prince
  • Davidic King
  • Anointed One

“There I will cause the horn of David to spring forth;
I have prepared a lamp for Mine Anointed.”  Psalm 132:17

  • Root of Jesse

“And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse,
Who shall stand as a banner to the people;
For the Gentiles shall seek Him,
And His resting place shall be glorious.”  Isaiah 11:10

  • Immanuel…God with us

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

  • The Promised Son
  • Mighty God
  • Wonderful Counselor
  • Everlasting Father
  • The Prince of Peace

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

  • begotten of His Father before all worlds
  • prophesy that He would be born in Bethlehem
  • His going forth as the Son of God

“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity.”  Micah 5:2

a-ray-of-hope

Father God, You brought forth Your Son into this world.  Your Word is so beautifully filled with the Truth of His coming and His Presence.  He is Hope.  I am humbled to be Your daughter and to know that Jesus is my Brother, my LORD, my Savior, my King, my Redeemer, my All.  He came and brought so much to all who walk this earth.  May the many who do not know Him seek His face, realizing the gracious gift You have bestowed upon us all.  I love You, LORD.  I am grateful for the Gift of Yourself.  May I walk in hope each and every moment, seeing the Hope that is You.  You gave me life that I did not have.  You gave me a love that I knew not.  You give me hope in Your Second Coming for I truly know that You are returning.  Precious Holy One, I love You and so look forward to that day.  I have hope, LORD, because I know You.  I lift up those who do not know You.  Their world is diminished because they have little or no hope without You.  I ask You to cover the children around the world who are suffering from war, starvation, abuse, terror.  Please hold these precious little ones near, Father.  They so need Your touch.  Draw in those adults who are lost and in need of a savior, the Savior.  They have no hope otherwise.  I want them to know what I know and Who I know.  May Your Word and the Truth of Christ’s appearing touch hearts this season.  In the Hope of Your Son, I pray.  Amen.

 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope Romans 15:12-13

3b9ae73d6ff42ab012b0f127f80f203c

first graphic:  http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/jesus/images/28768008/title/jesus-gives-hope-wallpaper

Devotionals · God's Word · OneWord365 · Pondering

Commit — One Word 2016

Commit300IMG_1519

Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in Him, and He will act.  Psalm 37:5

גָּלַל

galal

a primitive root; to roll (literally or figuratively):—commit, remove, roll (away, down, together), seek occasion, trust, wallow

To roll: a reproach being rolled off or removed from someone:

Take away from me scorn and contempt,
for I have kept your testimonies.  Psalm 119:22

To roll:  one’s ways and works rolled onto (committed to, entrusted to) someone (especially God):

Commit your work to the LORD,
and your plans will be established.   Proverbs 16:3

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

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 deny

to affirm that one has no acquaintance or connection with someone

to forget one’s self, lose sight of one’s self and one’s own interests

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

Commitment to Jesus Christ is a lifetime commitment, one which requires time, work, and determination.  Commitment also requires faith, trust, hope.

Commitment can build faith and trust, and can develop character.

I made a commitment to Christ Jesus July 17, 1993.  I have left my cross on many-a-path since then, yet have picked it up again and again.  I have not stopped following Jesus, but, when I relinquished my cross those times, I would be singing la-ti-da without a full commitment.  I thought I was denying myself, yet I was denying the fact that I had even dropped my cross.

Commitment feels rather scary.  Yet I know that I am heaven bound because I laid my trust and hope in the One and Only Lord Jesus, the One Who came to this earth to save me, Who died for me, and Who was resurrected for me.  He will return for me one day.

In 1993, I chose to marry my husband and am so very committed to this wonderful man, to our marriage, to our walk with Jesus.  I am not afraid of this earthly marriage.

‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’  So they are no longer two but one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”  Mark 10:7-9

I am wholly committed to Jesus, following Him as He has called me.   LORD, I will do my best.  I thank You for picking me up when I fall and for loving me when I am wayward.  I am still Yours.   

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  As it is written, “For Your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:35-39

“Being killed all the day long….”  Teach me, LORD, Your way in this life.  I am not of this world, but am in it.  I want to be separate.  I want to be the sojourner in this strange land because I am Yours. 

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  John 8:12

Jesus prayed for His own (John 17), committed them/us to His Father:

When Jesus had spoken these words, He lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son that the Son may glorify You, since You have given Him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom You have given Him. …. “I have manifested Your Name to the people whom You gave Me out of the world. Yours they were, and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.  Now they know that everything that You have given Me is from You.  For I have given them the words that You gave Me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.  I am praying for them. …. I do not ask that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.  Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.  …. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know You, I know You, and these know that You have sent Me. I made known to them Your Name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which You have loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

I want to memorize all of this prayer this year and know the very love that Jesus has for me.  I want to know it deeply.  I want to delve into The Word, Jesus Christ, to know Him more and more.  I am recommitting my life, Jesus, to You.  My life is Yours.  I am Your sheep. You are my Shepherd.  I am Your child.  You are my Father, my Abba Father.  I want to be obedient to You.  I am wholly Yours.  Guide my every step.  Please hold me near.  Forgive me when I stray.  In Your Name, I pray.  Amen. 

befuschiasig