For Who is God?

“For Who is God, but the LORD?
And Who is a rock, except our God?”
2 Samuel 22:32

He is my God, and He Alone is my everything. Trusting in Him is the way I must turn, the way I want to turn, although I am not always faithful to do so. I do want to turn to Him alone. And, oh, when I try to go things alone I get lost, confused, independent, defeated, and scorned sometimes. But my heart’s desire is to find my God and know Him as He is. I want to seek His Name(s) and know He is my everything in all of my situations, in all of my ways, in all of my deeds. I want to praise Him for He is God. He is my God.

Worthy to be praised! Hallelujah! and Amen!

David wrote this psalm, recorded in 2 Samuel 22. Matthew Henry, from his Commentary on 2 Samuel 22 with: “This chapter is a psalm, a psalm of praise; we find it afterwards inserted among David’s psalms (Psalm 18) with some little variation. We have it here as it was first composed for his own closet and his own harp; but there we have it as it was afterwards delivered to the chief musician for the service of the church, a second edition with some amendments; for, though it was calculated primarily for David’s case, yet it might indifferently serve the devotion of others, in giving thanks for their deliverances; or it was intended that his people should thus join with him in his thanksgivings, because, being a public person, his deliverances were to be accounted public blessings and called for public acknowledgments.

David, in his closet, his cave, most likely near the battlefield, writes these beautiful and strong words. How blessed we are to be able to praise God using these words as they pertain to our lives in the ways God means them to be used in our very lives. We have enemies whether on earth or in the air. We have troubles and mis-steps in our lives. We need to focus on the One Who rescues us, holds us, provides for us, takes the burdens from us.

And David spoke to the LORD the words of this song on the day when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. 2 Samuel 22:1

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who addressed the words of this song to the LORD on the day when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said:
I love you, O LORD, my strength.
Psalm 18:1

He said, “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 and my refuge,
my savior; you save me from violence.
2 Samuel 22:2-3

And later in 2 Samuel, David praised the Lord again with similar words:

“The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock,
and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation
,… 2 Samuel 22:47

This God—his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
2 Samuel 22:31

This God is my strong refuge
and has made my way blameless.
2 Samuel 22:33

Psalm 18 has these beautiful descriptions of David’s God, our God:

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

“In my distress I called upon the LORD;
to my God I called.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry came to his ears.
2 Samuel 22:7

In my distress I called upon the LORD;
to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.
Psalm 18:6

I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.
2 Samuel 22:4

I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.
18:3

He brought me out into a broad place;
he rescued me, because he delighted in me.
2 Samuel 2:20

He brought me out into a broad place;
he rescued me, because he delighted in me.
Psalm 18:19

For you are my lamp, O LORD,
and my God lightens my darkness.
2 Samuel 22:29

For it is you who light my lamp;
the LORD my God lightens my darkness.
Psalm 18:28

This God—his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
2 Samuel 22:31

This God—his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him
. Psalm 18:30

“The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock,
and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation,…
” 2 Samuel 22:47

The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock,
and exalted be the God of my salvation—
Psalm 18:46

From “Treasury of David” on Psalm 18 by C. H. Spurgeon:

“We have another form of this Psalm, with significant variations (2 Samuel 22), and this suggests the idea that it was sung by David at different times when he reviewed his own remarkable history, and observed the gracious hand of God in it all. Like Addison’s hymn beginning, “When all thy mercies, O my God,” this Psalm is the song of a grateful heart overwhelmed with a retrospect of the manifold and marvellous mercies of God. We will call it THE GRATEFUL RETROSPECT. The title deserves attention. David, although at this time a king, calls himself, “the servant of Jehovah,” but makes no mention of his royalty; hence we gather that he counted it a higher honour to be the Lord’s servant than to be Judah’s king. Right wisely did he judge. Being possessed of poetic genius, he served the Lord by composing this Psalm for the use of the Lord’s house; and it is no mean work to conduct or to improve that delightful part of divine worship, the singing of the Lord’s praises. Would that more musical and poetical ability were consecrated, and that our chief musicians were fit to be trusted with devout and spiritual psalmody. It should be observed that the words of this song were not composed with the view of gratifying the taste of men, but were spoken unto Jehovah. It were well if we had a more single eye to the honour of the Lord in our singing, and in all other hallowed exercises. That praise is little worth which is not directed solely and heartily to the Lord. David might well be thus direct in his gratitude, for he owed all to his God, and in the day of his deliverance he had none to thank but the Lord, whose right hand had preserved him. We too should feel that to God and God alone we owe the greatest debt of honour and thanksgiving.

If it be remembered that the second (third) and the forty-ninth (fiftieth) verses are both quoted in the New Testament (Hebrews 2:13/2 Samuel 22:3; Romans 15:9/2 Samuel 22:50) as the words of the Lord Jesus, it will be clear that a greater than David is here. Reader, you will not need our aid in this respect; if you know Jesus you will readily find him in his sorrows, deliverance, and triumphs all through this wonderful psalm.

“For this I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations,
and sing praises to your name. Great salvation he brings to his king,
and shows steadfast love to his anointed,
to David and his offspring forever.”
2 Samuel 22:50-51

For this I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations,
and sing to your name. Great salvation he brings to his king,
and shows steadfast love to his anointed,
to David and his offspring forever
. Psalm 18:49-50

Just this very day, Sunday, July 25, 2021, Pastor Danny preached from Mark 4:35-41, “Who Then Is This?” As I planned to finish up this post later today, I was drawn to Mark 4:41 –

And they were filled with great fear (awe/reverence) and said to one another, “Who then is This, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” Mark 4:41

Who then is This? … For Who is God? … God truly had powerful lessons for me this week through His Word.

Oh, that I would spend more time in It. Guide me, O Lord.

We sang this song in church…”Behold Our God twice this morning…during the music portion in the beginning of church and then as our final song. I have been singing it throughout the afternoon…praising my Lord.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-tgGHZNQJw

The Bellevue Baptist Church (Cordova & Memphis, TN) choir/church is one of my favorite recordings of it. As I sang it from home this morning, I lifted my hands in praise and belted it out as though I have a fine voice. Only between God and me…(and Bonnie Girl, the cat), God knows the voice He created in me and He loves it when I worship and praise Him!

I delight in You, O Lord, and bow at Your feet. Blessed be the Lord for You are my Strength, my Refuge, my Rock and my Sword. Your Word is Truth and Power for and to me. Your beauty is magnificent. Your peace is the quiet in the storm, the rain on the roof, the shade of purple in a Lavender plant. Your Light is bright, a Lamp forever for all to see. I pray that I may be a light in this dark world. Your gentleness and kindness flow from the sweet words of friends, their acceptance of who I am as Your creation for, somehow, they see me through Your eyes. The Glory of the Lord is that which I sing from the mountaintops and from the valleys. You are my All in all. Hallelujah to my God on High. You are my King, my Salvation, my Love, my Husband, my Savior and my Lord. I thank you for giving me the ability to praise You, sweet and precious Lord. Thank You for raining Your mercy upon me, for opening my eyes and ears to Your saving grace. You are my God. You reign in my heart, in my life. Hallelujah! Behold, You are my God. I pray all in Your Son’s Holy Name. Amen.

2 Samuel 22:32 photo/graphic @ Daily Verses

Commentary on 2 Samuel by Matthew Henry

2 Samuel 22:2-3 photo/graphic @ Daily Bible Inspirations

2 Samuel 22:4 photo/graphic @ Rachel Wojo

Psalm 18:19 photo/graphic @ Daily-Bible-Verse

2 Samuel 22:31 photo/graphic @ GodFruits.com

Psalm 18:46 photo/graphic @ knowing-jesus

Treasury of David on Psalm 18 by C. H. Spurgeon

Psalm 18:49-50 photo/graphic @ Heartlight.org

“Behold Our God” by Songwriter(s): Jonathan Baird, Meghan Baird, Ryan Baird, Stephen Altrogge, CCLI: #5937510; Sovereign Grace Music; Youtube from Bellevue Baptist Church

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

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

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

His Presence: Basking In or Fleeing From?

Where shall I go from Your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from Your presence?
Psalm 139:7

Do I want to flee from God? Do I want to hide from Him?

Oh, I have wanted that when I knew NOT Christ. When sin was written all over my face. When being forgiven seemed not to be an option for all that I had done. When I had done and been far more than I knew I ever should have done or been. So hiding was what I wanted to do.

But one cannot hide from the Omnipresent, Omniscient, Omnipotent God. He is everywhere. He is all knowing and all powerful.

Psalm 139 is not about running away from God. It is about being in His beautiful Presence, being bathed in Him, knowing that He loves me, loved me first. He created me and He forgives me no matter what I have done or who I have been.

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
O LORD, You have searched me and known me!

You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You discern my thoughts from afar.

You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.

Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.

You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay Your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.

¶Where shall I go from Your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from Your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, You are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, You are there!

If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

even there Your hand shall lead me,
and Your right hand shall hold me.

If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”

even the darkness is not dark to You;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with You.
Psalm 139:1-12

David walks closely with His God. David knows that He is forgiven and wants to be near to Him. He does not want to go far. He knows God well, is intimately familiar with God, so much so that He feels wrapped in His love.

Continuing in Psalm 139:

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

I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are Your works;
my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from You,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in Your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

¶How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!

If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with You.
Psalm 139:13-18

Do you know this intimacy with God? Stand there at that sea shore. Hear and sea the waves coming ashore…the steadiness of them, one after another. The ocean is vast. God created this beautiful sea. He created each grain of sand. He is omnipresent.

Are you so near to God that You feel His comfort, His delight about you, His love for you?

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8

Have you repented of your sins? Will God forgive us even if we mess up again and again? Oh, yes! He will and He does! Ask me for I know!

Have you asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior? He wants you to. He wants you to come to Him for He is waiting for you.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me. Revelation 3:20

Have you asked Jesus to forgive you? He will when you ask.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you. James 4:10

And when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

And immediately Jesus, perceiving in His spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.”

And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” Mark 2:5-12

A relationship with Jesus begins with repentance. As you draw closer to Christ, and Christ Alone, you will desire to spend time in the Bible, in prayer, in study. The intimacy will develop and grow. I have known the Lord for 28 years now. I was 45 when I accepted Jesus as my Lord. These last 28 years have been the best, hardest, and loveliest in my life. I would not trade them for the first 45 years either. And I would not want to spend however many more I am here on earth without my Lord. No way! I am looking forward to eternity spent with my Lord. Hallelujah!!

I now can say without one iota of a doubt:

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
Psalm 34:8

Father, I thank You for drawing me near to You no matter how far away I have been. I see You more clearly with each day. You are Almighty God, Abba Father. I thank You for opening my eyes that I can see the magnificence and might that You are for and to me. You hold me and You comfort me. You teach me and You discipline me. You love me, Lord. I am so very grateful. Through Your Word, You have so many lessons for me. Please guide me as I read Your Word. When I pray to and with You, You are the Light and Lamp unto my path. As we walk together, You teach me. You gather me as a sheep when I wander away. I thank You for the many previous times You have done just that. Knowing that You will never forsake me is such a comfort. Father, I pray for those who do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. I pray Your loving grace and mercy over them as they search. We are all searching for “something” and when in that place, we often do not know just what we are missing. Guide them to Yourself. Thank You for showing me through this Psalm that I am not running from You to hide. I am so in awe of You, of Your glory and majesty. I feel like Moses in the cleft of the rock as Your Glory shines ever-so-brightly. May my face shine when I have been in Your Presence. Thank You for keeping me near as I walk paths of the unknown each and every day. I love You, Lord. In the Name of Jesus, the bright Morning Star, I pray. Amen.

Graphic with C.S. Lewis’s quote @ https://theteachableheart.wordpress.com/2017/04/23/his-presence/

Photo of the night/graphics Psalm 139:11-12 @ https://www.pinterest.com/pin/413486809508317810/

Photo/Psalm 139:13-14 @ https://www.pinterest.com/pin/246501779577399104/

Photo/Graphic of Psalm 139:17-18 @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/hsga/24555887160

I Serve a Magnificent and Holy God!

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

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

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

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

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

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

United States

United Kingdom

India

South Africa

Canada

Jamaica

Brazil

Philippines

Nigeria

France

Spain

Netherlands

Ghana

Australia

Vietnam

Dominican Republic

Germany

Bahamas

Indonesia

Singapore

Angola

Hondurus

Swaziland

Trinidad & Tobago

Serbia

Mexico

Zimbabwe

Norway

Botswana

Puerto Rico

Bolivia

All over this world!

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

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

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

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

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

Photo with Mark 16:6: Christina Rivas @ faithful4Him

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

Audible

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

At the baptism of Jesus

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

φωνή

phōnḗ – (fo-nay’)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yet, God spoke audibly:

At the transfiguration of Jesus

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

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

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

Before the Last Supper

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

audible colors @ byjus.com

audible range @ yourwidlife.org

*root meaning of “phone” @ etymology.com

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

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

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

Luke 11:28 photo/graphics @ bible.com

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

THE Cross, THE Resurrection, and Me

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

ἀνάστασις

anastasis

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE CROSS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE RESURRECTION

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

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

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

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

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

The Empty Cross @ pursuingprayer.blog

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

*from Encyclopedia Britannica.com on “Crucifixion”

**from Crosswalk – “Good Friday”

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

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

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

Pure Silence

He was oppressed, and He was afflicted,
yet He opened not His mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so He opened not His mouth.
Isaiah 53:7

פָּתַח

pāṯaḥ

to open wide (literally or figuratively); specifically, to loosen, begin, plough, carve

אָלַם

‘ālam

to tie fast; hence (of the mouth) to be tongue-tied:—bind, be dumb, put to silence.

Two words in this verse that look the same in English yet their meanings differ because of the use, as a part of the word, of a small three-letter word…”not.” It is used after “opened” in the first part, yet not a part of the definition, whereas the second “opened” included “not,” as if it is a whole word. The NLT version of the verse may help to see this a bit more clearly:

He was oppressed and treated harshly,
yet He never said a word.
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.
And as a sheep is silent before the shearers,
He did not open His mouth.
NLT

Sheep are often described as dumb, but as one who has written a series on sheep in this blog, the “dumb” is their silence, a muted voice. They are a patient and meek animal. They need their shepherd to do most of what they need: guided to the green pastures, led to water, sheared, picked up should they fall, led back to the flock should they get lost. They do not do these necessary feats by themselves. It is just the way of sheep. As “the flock” of Jesus, we need this guidance as well, don’t we? But we are not “dumb,” not stupid. We just get lost too. The “dumb” as used here is mute, unable or unwilling to utter a sound.

C. H. Spurgeon preached: “Though the emblem is very gracious, it is by no means novel, for our Lord had been long before Isaiah’s day typified in the lamb of the Passover. To call Him, “The Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world,” is a very frequent mode of explaining to us how He made expiation for our transgressions and indeed even in His glory He is the Lamb in the midst of the throne before whom angels and the redeemed are bowing. I delight to bring before your minds the singular communion between yourselves and Jesus—you “like sheep” and He “as a sheep”—you like sheep in your wanderings, He like a sheep in His patience. You more like sheep—I mean myself and you—more like sheep for foolishness, but He only like a sheep for the sweet submissiveness of His Spirit, so that beneath the shearer’s hand, “He opens not His mouth.” ….

Now the hand of the LORD had been upon me the evening before the fugitive came; and He had opened my mouth by the time the man came to me in the morning, so my mouth was opened, and I was no longer mute. Ezekiel 33:22

I am mute; I do not open my mouth,
for it is you who have done it.
Psalm 39:9

But I am like a deaf man; I do not hear,
like a mute man who does not open his mouth
. Psalm 38:13

He stands there willing to suffer, to be spit upon, to be shamefully treated and to die, for in Him there was a complete surrender. There was no reserve about His body, soul, or spirit. He was wholly given up to do the Father’s will and work out our redemption. There was a complete self-conquest, too. In Him no faculty arose to plead for liberty and ask to be exempted from the general strain. No limb of the body, no portion of the mind, no faculty of the spirit started, but all submitted. A whole Christ giving up His whole being unto God that He might perfectly offer Himself without spot for our redemption.” * C. H. Spurgeon

Our reaction when accused is usually to lash out, react with some sort of voice and/or action. Could I be still? Could my voice be silent facing accusations? Facing my death? Facing even the Truth? They asked, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” (Luke 23:37) and “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” (Luke 23:39) I know what my immediate response would be, but Christ is silent.

Throughout the time when Jesus was being questioned, being accused, being killed, He was silent.

But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God, tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God.” Matthew 26:63

But when He was accused by the chief priests and elders, He gave no answer. Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” But He gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed. Matthew 27:12-14

So he questioned Him at some length, but He made no answer. Luke 23:9

He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. John 19:9

But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed. Mark 15:5

I am amazed as well.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (from Isaiah): He conducted himself under his sufferings so as to make it appear that he did not suffer as an evil-doer; for, though he was oppressed and afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth (v. 7), no, not so much as to plead his own innocency, but freely offered himself to suffer and die for us, and objected nothing against it. This takes away the scandal of the cross, that he voluntarily submitted to it, for great and holy ends. By his wisdom he could have evaded the sentence, and by his power have resisted the execution; but thus it was written, and thus it behoved him to suffer. This commandment he received from his Father, and therefore he was led as a lamb to the slaughter, without any difficulty or reluctance (he is the Lamb of God); and as a sheep is dumb before the shearers, nay, before the butchers, so he opened not his mouth, which denotes not only his exemplary patience under affliction (Ps. 39:9), and his meekness under reproach (Ps. 38:13), but his cheerful compliance with his Father’s will. Not my will, but thine be done. Lo, I come. By this will we are sanctified, his making his own soul, his own life, an offering for our sin.

For me, for my sin! God is so merciful and so graceful. Thank You, LORD. I so appreciate You and love You for saving me from myself.

When He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but continued entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly. 1 Peter 2:23

Jesus trusted His Father. Jesus “entrusted” Himself to His Father. Let the Word of God speak for itself:

“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
Psalm 46:10

“But the LORD is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” (Habakkuk 2:20)

“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Matthew 5:11

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Romans 12:19 (Deuteronomy 32:35)

Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 1 Peter 3:9

Father, I thank You for sending Your precious Son to save me, to save us all that we would come to You and know Your mercy and saving grace. I pray that His silence will continue to speak volumes into the hearts of men, women, children as they hear about Jesus’ sacrifice on that awful Cross. As we near Resurrection Sunday, may this silence still our hearts to truly draw closer to the One Who came to take our sins, nailing them to that Cross where He was also nailed, and where He died once for all, carrying our loud, obnoxious sinful voices with Him while He remained quiet. Oh, Lord, I am so sorry. I am also so grateful to You for carrying me with You, giving me a new birth, a new life. I love You, Jesus. In the silence, God raised You from the dead and shows me that I will die once too and then willI walk with You into eternity. Hallelujah! Oh, how I love You…”Oh, how He loves you; Oh, how he loves me; Oh, how he loves you and me.” ** As I hum these words, Lord, I hear Your silence yet I feel Your love. Praising You with all my heart. In Your Holy and beautifully silent Name, I pray. Amen.

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him. Hebrews 9:27-28

Photograph: Resting Lamb by H. Zell – own work: CC BY-SA 3.0;/ WikiMedia File: Lamb – Animal Park Muggensturm 01.jpg; Created: 17 February 2019; Scripture added by me on Pixlr

*BY C. H. SPURGEON, THE SHEEP BEFORE THE SHEARERS, Sermon No. 1543, A SERMON
DELIVERED ON LORD’S-DAY EVENING, JUNE 20, 1880,  AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (from Isaiah)

Photo of Sunset: by Cindy Lever from Pixabay

** song: “Oh, How He Loves You and Me”. Copyright: 1975 Word Music, LLC (a div. of Word Music Group, Inc.)

Jesus Suffered So For Me

Day after day, week upon week, I suddenly am overwhelmed with with the injustice, the bigotry, the killing of seemingly innocent lives. This past week has been so filled with these heinous acts that I just have to stop to remind myself that God is in control. No matter what I wish was the reality all around, these things are not in my control. I can pray, and I do. I can stand up for what I believe to be right, yet I am still not the one in charge. Thus I pray.

Sweet sisters and brothers, I have another post almost ready to go. I have been writing on the silence of the Lamb of God as He was being accused, judged, retaliated upon. Instead, though, am sharing something that is not mine, yet still on the Lord’s silence. This season before Resurrection Sunday, I have been reading a couple of devotional books to remind me of all that Christ has done for me. Words (other than God’s Word) are not enough to focus my heart upon Him but they are reminders, guides, prayers to point me to the One Who changed my life 28 years ago.

From “An Ocean of Grace, A Journey to Easter with Great Voices from the Past,” Tim Chester writes an introduction each day accompanied by the writing of a church father from ancient days, a Christian such as Martin Luther, John Bunyan, Charles Spurgeon, and so many more.

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God,…. 1 Peter 3:18a

Tim Chester says: “A swap has taken place: Jesus takes out judgment and gives us his reward. The 3rd-century church father Cyprian reminds us that we see this great exchange in every aspect of the story of Christ’s passion.” (Mr. Chester changed part of the Treatise IX of Cyprian into a prayer, as I looked up the original.)

Precious Saviour,

even before Your very passion and cross, before they had reached the cruelty of death and the shedding of blood,

what infamies of reproach You patiently heard, what mockings of contempt You suffered.

You had used Your spit to heal a blind man; yet for us You received the spittings of insulters!

In Your name the devil and his angels are beaten; yet for us You suffered beatings!

You crown martyrs with eternal flowers; yet for us You were crowned with thorns.

You give victory palm branches to those who overcome; yet for us You were struck on the face with palms.

You clothe us with immortality; yet for us You were stripped of Your earthly garments.

You give us heavenly food; yet for us You were fed with bitter gall.

You hold the cup of salvation; yet for us You were given vinegar to drink.

You are guiltless, the just One; indeed, You are innocence itself and justice itself, yet for us You were counted among transgressors, and truth is suppressed with false witnesses.

You shall judge; yet for us You were judged;

You are the Word of God; yet for us You were led silently to the slaughter.

When You hung on the cross, the stars were confounded, the elements were disturbed, the earth quaked, night shut out the day, the sun withdrew his rays that He might not be compelled to look upon the crime.

You did not speak, nor did You resist, nor did You declare Your majesty.

To the very end You bore all things with perseverance that in You a full and perfect patience might be consummated.

And after all these things, You still receive Your murderers if they will turn and come to You; and with a saving patience, You close Your Church to no one.

Those adversaries, those blasphemers, those who were enemies of Your name, if they repent of their sin, and acknowledge their crime—You receive them, not only to the pardon of their sin, but to the reward of the heavenly kingdom.

Who can be said to be more patient, more merciful? Even those who shed Your blood and are made alive by that blood—so great is Your patience.

“Christ suffered for us, leaving you an example, that ye should follow His steps, who did no sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth; Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, threatened not, but gave Himself up to him that judged Him unjustly.” 1 Peter 2:21-23

Empower us, who have placed ourselves in You by faith, who have clothed ourselves with You, who are on You, the way of salvation; empower us that we may follow Your example. Cyprian (c 200-258)*

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for Your sacrifices and love, again and again. And more than anything, thank You for taking my sins to the Cross, forgiving me, and guiding my steps. Teach me, show me, guide me, hold me near. For You, I am forever grateful. Please take all the violence, the murders, the crimes against humanity around this world, the lying and cheating, and forgive the cruel perpetrators of their evil ways just as You forgave Your murderers at the Cross. Draw the living victims, their families and friends near to You today, giving them comfort and healing. Forgive us each and all for all that we do and say against You. In Your Precious and Holy Name, I pray. Amen.

Photo/graphic: Gods411.org

Photo: Writings of Cyprian: Archive.org

*Cyprian: “Treatise IX. On the Advantage of Patience,” The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, eds. A Roberts & J. Donaldson (Eerdmans, 1979), p 486 with alterations by Tim Chester in Week 3 Sunday, “The Stars were Confounded,” An Ocean of Grace, A Journey to Easter with Great Voices from the Past, Tim Chester (The Good Book Company, 2021)