Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

The Heart

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
Matthew 1:23

Jesus is God. Jesus is Immanuel. Jesus is with us.

He knew then and still knows now and forevermore. He knows all. ALL!

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” Matthew 21:1-3

He fulfilled prophecies. This prophecy has a probable date in the 480s B.C. by Zechariah. Over 500 years prior to Jesus saying this to His Apostles.

This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

“Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”
Matthew 21:4-5

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Zechariah 9:9

Jesus knows and is ALL!

When Immanuel came to be with us, He was all human, all God. He had a heart, a physical heart like us.

The heart of Jesus beat and pumped; it beat like ours and pumped blood throughout His body to keep the physicalness of Jesus alive…as ours does.

The heart of Jesus was far more compassionate than most as He encompassed the world as it came into His view, whether physically or through His knowledge of the world around Him.

The beautiful heart of Jesus was (and is) the heart of God. This human came to earth and our God came too. His heart was so big that He came to shed His blood for us, for our sins.

This beautiful heart came in a baby. His name, Jesus, Immanuel, Emmanuel, God with us. I can hardly fathom this incredible act of God. Sinners and so in need of a Savior. So in need of a Lord. For one such as I. For those such as you.

This baby…this child…came with a heart like mine yet so not like mine.

But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. Luke 2:19

I, too, am pondering so very much this Christmas season as I center around the Heart of God.

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. Ezekiel 36:26-28

I will give them a heart to know that I am the LORD, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart. Jeremiah 24:7

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. Revelations 21:3

Father God, thank You for sending Your Son to this earth. You knew everything before You created anything. You know all today. I cannot fathom this child so rich with Your Love and so full of Your desire to call us to Yourself even before He was born. I am overwhelmed, Lord, with these thoughts of this child coming as You to be with us. You with us. You, right here with me. Oh, thank You, Lord. Thank You for drawing me to You and calling me to repentance, to call on the Name of Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I am humbled, Lord; humbled as Mary was at the birth of Her King, her Child, Her Lord. Her Child, my Savior, my God Who came to live with me. My heart is Your heart, O God. I am overcome with a sweet aroma of You, my Lord. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Graphic of heartbeat, cross, heart: Revive Nations

The physical heart inside human body graphic: @ URMC Rochester

Ezekiel 36:26 photo/graphics @ I Live For Jesus

Psalm 51:10 @ My Freshly Brewed Life

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Thankful, Thankful, I Adore Thee

The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies Me;
to one who orders his way rightly
I will show the salvation of God!”
Psalm 50:23

תּוֹדָה

tôwdâh

to-daw’

properly, an extension of the hand, i.e. (by implication) avowal, or (usually) adoration; specifically, a choir of worshippers:—confession, (sacrifice of) praise, thanks(-giving, offering).

The Hebrew word “thanksgiving” in the ESV, as above, can be translated in a number of ways. See a few other versions of Psalm 50:23:

Whoever offers praise glorifies Me;
And to him who orders his conduct aright
I will show the salvation of God.”
NKJV

“Whoever sacrifices a thank offering honors Me, and whoever orders his conduct I will show him the salvation of God.” CSB

He who is sacrificing praise honoureth Me, As to him who maketh a way, I cause him to look on the salvation of God! YLT

Matthew Henry comments on this one verse in his “Commentary on Psalm 50:”

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter; we have it, verse 23, which directs us what to do that we may attain our chief end. 

  • 1. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and we are here told that whoso offers praise glorifies him; whether he be Jew or Gentile, those spiritual sacrifices shall be accepted from him. We must praise God, and we must sacrifice praise, direct it to God, as every sacrifice was directed; put it into the hands of the priest, our Lord Jesus, who is also the altar; see that it be made by fire, sacred fire, that it be kindled with the flame of holy and devout affection; we must be fervent in spirit, praising the Lord. This he is pleased, in infinite condescension, to interpret as glorifying him. Hereby we give him the glory due to his name and do what we can to advance the interests of his kingdom among men.
  • 2. Man’s chief end, in conjunction with this, is to enjoy God; and we are here told that those who order their conversation aright shall see his salvation.
    • (1.) It is not enough for us to offer praise, but we must withal order our conversation aright. Thanksgiving is good, but thanks-living is better.
    • (2.) Those that would have their conversation right must take care and pains to order it, to dispose it according to rule, to understand their way and to direct it.
  • (3.) Those that take care of their conversation make sure their salvation; them God will make to see his salvation, for it is a salvation ready to be revealed; he will make them to see it and enjoy it, to see it, and to see themselves happy for ever in it. Note, The right ordering of the conversation is the only way, and it is a sure way, to obtain the great salvation.

You created us, Father, to glorify You, to show the world the One to Whom we lift our hands in praise for Who You are, for all You have created, for all You do in this world, and for all that You do for me, for all that You are to me. You have given me life through Your Son, Jesus Christ. You have given me purpose by creating me in Your image. You have given me peace, knowing I can rest in You. I can rest because I have come to know that You are my God. You, Lord, have saved me from my sinful ways. You guide my steps. You guard my ways. You forgive me. You love me. I want to order my ways to praise You. I desire to watch my words coming from my mouth, that each and all would magnify You. I want to glorify You, Lord, in all I am and all I do. In You Alone. I pray in the Precious Name of Jesus. Amen.

Psalm 50:23 photo with graphics: @ Pinterest

Psalm 50:23 photo with graphics @ Crystal Storm

Psalm 50:23 photo with graphics @ Pinterest

Psalm 50:23 photo with graphics @ Pinterest

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

How Great is Our God!

As many others, I am spending the next couple of weeks praising God with my thanks…for Who He is to me and what He has done for me. I want to take several Psalms over these two weeks which speak for me. I need not change a thing for the psalmist has said all that I desire to say to my God.

Great Is the Lord

A Song of Praise. Of David.
I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.

Every day I will bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.

Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable.

One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.

On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.

They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
and I will declare your greatness.

They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.

The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

The LORD is good to all,
and his mercy is over all that he has made.

All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD,
and all your saints shall bless you!

יָדָה

yāḏâ

yaw-daw

literally, to use (i.e. hold out) the hand; physically, to throw (a stone, an arrow) at or away; especially to revere or worship (with extended hands); intensively, to bemoan (by wringing the hands):—cast (out), (make) confess(-ion), praise, shoot, (give) thank(-ful, -s, -sgiving).

~~~

They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom
and tell of your power,

to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds,
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures throughout all generations.
[The LORD is faithful in all his words
and kind in all his works.]

The LORD upholds all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.

The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food in due season.

You open your hand;
you satisfy the desire of every living thing.

The LORD is righteous in all his ways
and kind in all his works.

The LORD is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.

He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
he also hears their cry and saves them.

The LORD preserves all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.

My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD,
and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.

Father, I thank You for loving me so that You saved me from my own sin. I praise You for all things beautiful, all things created by Your hands. You hear me when I call. You answer me. You hold me near and comfort me in my need. Father. I praise You and love You. Teach me Your ways. In Your Son’s Holy Name, I pray. Amen.

Photo/graphic: Psalm 145:1-2 @ Verse of the Day

Photo/graphic: Psalm 145:5 @ Pinterest

Photo/graphic: Psalm 145:8-9 @ Pinterest

Photo/graphic: Psalm 145:10 @ Scripture Images

Photo/graphic: Psalm 145:13-14 @ Pinterest

Photo/graphic: Psalm 145:16 @ A Little Perspective

Photo/graphic: Psalm 145:18 @ Pinterest

Photo/graphic: Psalm 145:19-21 @ Turn Back to God/Bible Verse Art

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Weakness to Power ~ Only by God

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

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

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

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

Who has led me across three states? …my God

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

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

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

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

Jude 24-25

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

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

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

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

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

2 Timothy 1:7

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

The Invisible God

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

ἀόρατος

aoratos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Wild Horses photo: Wyoming Public Radio

Tulip @ DesktopNexus

Snow/River @ WallUp

Yosemite Valley @ WallpapersCraft

Living Waters @ FreeImages

Lily of the Valley @ FreeBigPictures

Autumn Path @ WallpapersCraft

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Remember the “One Anothers?”

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. John 13:34

ἀλλήλων

allēlōn

one another; reciprocally, mutually

“One Another” – English uses two words for the Greek language’s one word, yet the meaning is the same. It’s used 100 times in 94 New Testament verses. 47 of those verses give instructions to the church, and 60% of those instructions come from Paul. **

As children of God, our priority ought to be the “one anothers.” Jesus commanded us to love one another.

Freedom, liberty, rights…words we hear often these days. Yes, they have been around in this country since the United States of America became a country and the Founding Fathers drafted our Constitution and Bill of Rights. They have been in use worldwide as well. They are words we want to trust and know that we are under a government that allows us, the people, to have rights, freedoms, and liberty. Yet, are these ideals meant for only ourselves as individuals? Are we more important than our neighbors, our co-workers, our parents or children, church members, the community around us? With Covid-19 on the rampage, especially with the Delta variant so highly contagious, using our rights, our individual freedoms, our liberties as excuses to not get the vaccine that will help contain this killing virus, as excuses to not wear masks that guard ourselves and others, we are placing ourselves above everyone else. EVERYONE ELSE!

In this world of harsh, angry words, have we forgotten about the others: those with Cancer, those with immune-compromised body systems from disease, or another issue, the elderly, those who are givers of care to parents, to young children, or both? What about the little ones who cannot even get a vaccine? They are heading back to school. So many more children are in the hospital this very day due to COVID-19/Delta variant. Some places are not allowing a school district or a local public health department to mandate or even suggest the wearing of masks, or mandating teachers get vaccinated. Have the needs of these crossed the minds of those calling for freedom of choice?…to do what we please, labeling it with an amendment or a right from the Bill of Rights? Have they?

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13-14

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.  Never be wise in your own sight. Romans 12:16

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

In Pastor John Pavlovitz’s latest post, titled “Selfishness is America’s Second Deadly Virus,” he encourages me to complete this post (for I have been working on it for a couple of weeks). Those one anothers have been on my mind for quite some time now. When only thinking about myself and not loving others is, to me, the worst of selfishness.

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

...submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21

In front of my husband’s Bible, he wrote definitions of often hard-to-remember Christian vocabulary. “Submission — is recognizing and yielding to the Jesus in others.” And I say Amen!

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

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

Scripture says what I desire to say, yet far more eloquently, so I will let the beautiful words of God speak to our hearts, minds, and souls.

Think upon God’s Words to us.

As we focus our eyes and hearts upon Jesus, let us see all He is. And then let us look like Jesus before others. How will they see Him if we don’t spread His Light? Our actions and words speak volumes.

No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us. 1 John 4:12

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Colossians 3:12-15

Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. Romans 14:13

We must not stray, thinking our liberty as a Christian gives us freedoms that may end up taking us off God’s path, harming others, causing others to stumble.

“‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”
Matthew 15:8-9

We also must seek to glorify God in all we do and are. Even wearing a mask to protect others as well as one’s self can glorify God. Even receiving a vaccine if one is medically able can glorify God.

Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God. Romans 15:5-7

Lord, I seek Your face. I want to know You well so that I am able to reflect Your Light through all I am and all I do. As I write this post, I see rather clearly my own faults and my judgment upon others. I need reminding that my way is not always right. Others see this virus through a different lens than the one I have. Forgive me, Lord, should I judge another. Guide my steps so that I walk in Your ways. This Covid-19 season has opened my eyes in ways I would never have imagined, both good and not-so-good, about myself and others, even my sisters and brothers in Christ. Grant me patience and humility, mercy and grace. I am trying to take care of myself while caring about those I come into contact with. Help us each and all see it through You, Lord. Please grant us that ability that we could then live in peace with one another, loving one another. Protect us from this awful virus, Lord. May Your will be done in all ways. I pray in Your Son’s Holy and Powerful Name. Oh, my Jesus. Amen.

Here is a fine page of many “one another” passages: (The link is at the bottom where The Architect and the Artist has a printable page of this.)

 

 

“One Another Christianity” photo/graphic: Ottawa Church of Christ

** See OverViewBible.com for a great list of One Another verses in the New Testament

1 John 4:7 Two Swans photo/graphic @BibleVersestoGo

“To & For One Another” graphic: Carmen Puscas Ministries

1 Corinthians 10:23a @ The Visual Verse/SheryllMonique

One Another (Think on These Things) Scripture Writing @ The Architect and the Artist

Pondering

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

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 · Pondering

Gather

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

אָסַף

ʼâçaph

‘āsap̄

pronounced: aw-saf’

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

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

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

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

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

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

God calls us to gather to Him….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:3-5

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

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

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

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

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

Sheep @ water trough photo @ Flickr

wheat photo @ www.wallpaperflare.com

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

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

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

Photo/graphic – Psalm 116:15 @ pinterest

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