Devotionals · God's Word · OneWord365 · Pondering

One Word 2021 – July (+ Where I Have Been)

Where in the world have you been for the past seven weeks?…you might be asking!

Well, I am getting ready to move. AGAIN! Yes, I know I moved into a new home just last October. I have precious people in my life here but this COVID-19 year has given me time to know that I need to be near family. One day, I was just meandering on the internet looking at the places Kenneth and I had dreamed of moving before we landed in Lufkin. While perusing those places, I found a being-built senior cooperative condo building in Grand Junction, Colorado, where two cousins live. As I looked further into this option, I have come to know that Grand Junction is where I am headed. I have been at peace throughout the research on what a senior cooperative meant (I knew about farm coops, electrical coops, and homeschool coops but not senior living coops!). I also spoke with many people on all ends of this project plus my family. It is very affordable and in a place that I want to be, near people I want to be near. Yes, Covid is there too. I am vaccinated. God will carry me through whatever is before me.

My sisters live where the prices are so high that my income will not afford me the opportunity to live on Kauai nor in San Diego. My nephew lives in Indio (Palm Springs area). I have no children and am a widow. My cousins are delighted that I would move near them. I am too. Donna and I have stayed in touch most of our 70+ year lives. I went to GJ a few weeks ago and know that God has gone before me in all. My Lufkin house is on the market as of today. It is being shown tonight for the first time. I have been approved for an apartment in GJ as of yesterday. God is raining His beautiful peace upon me through it all. Thus…I have not been writing. But I am still here!

So…as all of this is happening, I am still desiring to …

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30

Lisa @ Lisa Notes / One Word 2021 (on FaceBook) reminds us each month to link up with her and others regarding our “One Word 2021.” This month she has given us a special task in order to ponder our words:

WELCOME TO PART 2!  You’ve made it to the second half of the year with your One Word! 

Can you choose 3 days from the next 30 days to sit for a few minutes to pray and/or meditate over what God wants to do with you and your word for the remainder of the year?  
Specifically, you can pick one of these three areas per session: 
Your word and your relationship with God
Your word and your relationship with others
Your word and your relationship with yourself 

I will make room and time during three days during these next 30. I want to continue to grow in my relationship with God in all ways. As I learn to become less, my relationship with my Lord and Savior is becoming more. Life is less about me and so much more about Him. That is so what I wanted in January when I began with this word. God continues to grow me, yet I am becoming less and less. Odd, isn’t it?

Oh, my Sweet Lord, make me more and more like You, less and less filled with myself. You created me. Keep growing me to be just the way you want me. Amen.

Jesus prayed three times, almost the same prayer, as He spent time alone in the Garden of Gethsemane:

And going a little farther He fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26:39

Again, for the second time, He went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, Your will be done.” Matthew 26:42

So, leaving them again, He went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. Matthew 26:44

Three times…yet we know that God’s will overarched all. Jesus prayed for another way, a way other than the Cross, to receive the outcome that God wanted. There was no other way. Jesus submitted to the Father for He loved us so much that He paid the enormous price of death on the Cross for me, for you, for us all.

Jesus decreased for me as He was nailed to the Cross. I love Him and want to decrease for Him. I want others to see Him, yet not me, when they see my face, my eyes, even my heart.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s words: “What matters is participating in the reality of God and the world in Jesus Christ today, and in doing so in such a way that I never experience the reality of God without the reality of the world, nor the reality of the world without the reality of God.”

I live in this world. I walk with God. The closer I am to Him, the further I feel from the world, yet I am still that sojourner in it. May I always know which is which.

Lord, may I always be decreasing while You are increasing. You became nothing in order to abide in Your Father’s Will. You show me Your humanity as You asked for a different way rather than the Cross. Yet, You stayed the course. I pray, Lord, that I will be even a fraction filled with Your faithfulness and Your humbleness as You trusted Your Father in all that You did on earth and that You continue to do for us, for me. I thank You from the deepest place in my heart. I love You so. In Your Holy Blessed Name, Jesus. Amen.

Moving Day 1920s Photo: http://unioncitypostcards.blogspot.com/2011/10/moving-day-in-union-city-early-1920s.html. The Union City Bicentennial 1976 booklet in the UC Public library, the picture is titled “Ed Lincoln and his truck”. 

Down Arrow/Graph: Icon made from href=”http://www.onlinewebfonts.com/icon” Icon Fonts is licensed by CC BY 3.0

Devotionals · God's Word · OneWord365 · Pondering

Decrease – One Word 2021

“Decreasing” has NOT been what I have been doing this month. I seem to be “increasing” and barely recognizing that Christ is in my life lately. Definitely NOT the way I anticipated I would be headed almost half way through 2021. My growth in Christ is backwards.

I have been seriously pondering a major change in my life in the very near future. I have been praying. I have been reading God’s Word. I have been quiet before Him. Or so I thought.

But amidst the ways God wants me to go, I have been researching the change, dealing with banks, looking into options, sorting through things. Doing STUFF! All of the stuff I do before making a change. So when Lisa (@ Lisa Notes) posted that the 21st of May was coming up, time to link up our One Word 2021, I had not even thought about my One Word. Not even once! So today is the 22nd of May and I am typing these words of how my month has certainly looked to God while I have ignored this whole desire which I had purposed from the beginning of this year.

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30

Today, the 22nd of May, is the day I married Kenneth 28 years ago. He went to be with the Lord almost three years ago on June 7, 2018. We had just celebrated our 25th anniversary as he was dying from cancer. We knew his death was imminent and very soon, by his condition. We just did not know the exact date and time, of course. Only God knows those facts. The doctors had originally given him 7-10 days in mid-January, 2018. God had blessed us with these months instead of days, for which we were so grateful. We felt that God knew we needed this time together. Kenneth helped me prepare to be living alone…how I needed to care for our house, what tools I needed to keep, and which ones I should sell on eBay, which ones were to garage sale. He was so fine to prepare me like that. We prayed together and we shared spiritual Truths together. Oh, the time was so sweet. I am ever grateful. At this moment, my eyes have welled up with God’s little wet blessings that go into a bottle in Heaven. I am humbled by this day, these memories and my sweet Kenneth. I miss him so. So very much!

And these memories draw me back to the One Who saved me. I know that one day I shall see my Lord and dear Kenneth for we both know our Jesus the Christ. And He is the One to increase…not me! Thank You.

May His name endure forever,
His fame continue as long as the sun!
May people be blessed in Him,
all nations call Him blessed!

Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous things.

Blessed be His glorious Name forever;
may the whole earth be filled with His glory!
Amen and Amen!
Psalm 72: 17-19

I seek to be found with humility today. He is my Lord and my Lord forever.

Of the increase of His government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over His kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
Isaiah 9:7

I seek to be on my knees praising God in all His glory and releasing all of this STUFF that it would only be minutiae for me while God handles it as I obey Him.

He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” Matthew 13:31-32

I know that You, Lord, are handling it all, only that I let You. May I be as small as the mustard seed and may Who You are in me show to be that tree. May I be so tiny and You be just so vast, Christ.

Lord Jesus, I seek Your forgiveness in trying to handle things myself. You have allowed things to go differently that I had “planned” or had “hoped.” You are showing me this day that You have this in Your hands. You also have me in Your gentle and yet strong arms. You reminded me of my beautiful marriage with Kenneth and how we sought to depend upon You in so very much. Thank You, Lord. You are guide me. You know my heart. Thank You for Donna’s words last night on the phone, especially her sweet words at the end, that I will entrust my plans, my life to You. Thank You for caring about her and drawing her back to be near You. I am ever grateful for Your Love. I lay this whole change at Your feet, my Christ. I want to be obedient to Your call upon my life. If I am to change, You will make it so and if not, You will make it so! You love me no matter what I do for which I am so thankful. May I continue to learn to decrease so that You increase. I desire others to see You in me and not me in me. In the Beautiful and Increasing Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

John 3:30: photo/graphic @ Pinterest

Psalm 72:19: photo/graphics @ Pinterest

Isaiah 9:7: photo/graphic @ Knowing Jesus

Mustard Seed on fingertip: “page not found” for photo

Devotionals · God's Word · OneWord365 · Pondering

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

God's Word · OneWord365 · Pondering

Decrease – One Word 2021

I have not made resolutions for many years. I never kept them for long so gave that whole idea up. In 2007, I happened upon “One Word 365” and decided to pick one word that I could study in God’s Word, thereby seeking His face as I desired to draw closer to Him. I chose “love” that year. I rowed steadily on this annual river until 2016. I found that after ten years, I was moving into a similar “resolution” stream so I called a halt to this when it was time to pick a 2017 word. Four years have passed and I am very ready to begin again. I am choosing “decrease” as my 2021 word from which to dwell, ponder, study, seek guidance. I pray that my wings will spread and that I will draw nearer to my Christ in the process.

He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30

Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification.  And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you across the Jordan, to Whom you bore witness—look, He is baptizing, and all are going to Him.”  John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.  You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before Him.’  The one who has the bride is the bridegroom.  The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears Him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.  He must increase, but I must decrease.” He who comes from above is above all.  He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way.  He Who comes from heaven is above all.  John 3:25-31

Oh, to understand this, to acknowledge this Truth, to walk this out not just for 2021 but for the remainder of my days, to love the outcome no matter the trials and pain, no matter the joy and beauty in this journey.

Blessed be His glorious name forever;
may the whole earth be filled with His glory!
Amen and Amen!
Psalm 72:19

Father God, may the things of me, my selfish ways, my need to be in charge, all of me that shades out Christ from view to this world, that places His light in me under a bushel basket, may all that and much more decrease in me in order that You may increase. May Your holiness overwhelm me that I will glorify You, O Lord. May all of You become all of me. May my light be Your’s in this ever so dark world. I pray all in the Name of Jesus. Amen.

P.S. I will purpose to write of my journey with “decrease” once a month.

Weaving by ~ lindawoven; photo and graphics by ~ linda

Weaving by ~ lindawoven; photo and graphics by ~ linda

Up and Down arrows: Wikimedia (graphics added by me)