Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Strength to Hold the Battle Back

For some time, a focal point for me has been to ‘convince’ others to see the world through God’s Word plus I have desired to ‘renew relationships’ that seem to have gone deeply awry. Convincing and renewing were, at least, my hope to change hearts and minds by what I deemed as the wisdom and the Truth of God’s Word, common sense, and love towards others with open arms. All of my efforts have led to nothing but frustration, discouragement, and sorrow on my part.

And in this place of quiet, deep inside of me, God has given me His beautiful peace to know that He is God and that He is in control. I am not! I cannot ‘convince’ nor ‘restore’ in my own strength, even if I had some. When will I ever learn?

from Matthew Henry’s “Commentary on Isaiah (28):” “They courted and persuaded them to learn. God, by his prophets, said to them, “This way that we are directing you to, and directing you in, is the rest, the only rest, wherewith you may cause the weary to rest; and this will be the refreshing of your own souls, and will bring rest to your country from the wars and other calamities with which it has been long harassed.” Note, God by his word calls us to nothing but what is really for our advantage; for the service of God is the only true rest for those that are weary of the service of sin and there is no refreshing but under the easy yoke of the Lord Jesus.

I can see that I am up against a hard place, a stinging nettle, a prick. I must trust in the Lord, the Lord alone. He has not left me stranded in such a dark place as this world looks to be. He is near and reminds me of His infinite grace and mercy.

I have felt so off-course, so disengaged with people I once loved and cared about, yet I could not open my mouth without getting myself into more hot water. There was just no seeing eye-to-eye on just about anything and everything. So I remained quiet on the outside while my insides were boiling and exhausted from NOT trying to make peace, for NOT letting people know how I really felt or what I really believed. Both are a huge part of who I think I am…a peacemaker and an honest, open person.

I chose to use ‘Being Woven’ as my platform to share a few, just a few, of my thoughts and beliefs. Those same people whom I still love (yet no longer am able to like their behavior or lack of behavior) have gone completely silent.

In that day the LORD of hosts will be a crown of glory, and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people, and a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, and strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate. Isaiah 28:5-6

I have sought Him in my dark places. He is with me. I feel as though I am beginning once again. Beginning a new phase of the rest of my life, a reset button has recently been pushed. I am starting fresh without my dear husband, Kenneth, of 25 years. Yes, it has been four years since he died, but the reset button is just now being hit! A reset with possible new friends with whom I will be open and honest, I pray. A reset to trust in the Lord anew, responding to the life I am called to live.

My anger, my hopelessness, my fear, my disillusionment have all been based on worldly ways, on watching those around me use the beautiful Name of Christ in negative ways which I could never have imagined they would or could. I need to pull back and know that God is God and He is my God. Jesus is my Lord of this life.

The Lord will give me strength for turning my battle back at the gate. I am a follower of Jesus.

“I entreat you, give no place to despondency. This is a dangerous temptation–a refined, not a gross temptation of the adversary. Melancholy contracts and withers the heart, and renders it unfit to receive the impressions of grace. It magnifies and gives a false colouring to objects, and thus renders your burdens too heavy to bear. God’s designs regarding you, and His methods of bringing about these designs, are infinitely wise.” Madame Jeanne-Marie Guyon

This also comes from the LORD of hosts;
he is wonderful in counsel
and excellent in wisdom.
Isaiah 28:29

Father, as I walk this earth from day-to-day, please guide my steps that they would be steadily in sync with You. Guide my steps as You draw me into a fresh set of friends whose lives You have ordained for me. As You give me freedom to wander a bit and make choices, remind me of Whose I am and just where You desire I walk. Forgive me when I stray, especially when I stray far off the path. I may be just thinking that I am going over there to smell the fragrance of a flower, yet I sometimes forget that I need to return to the path. Lord, give me Your strength to keep the battles back at the gates so they do not come into my yard, into my life. May Your peace, Your love, Your holiness, Your grace, and Your mercy all, YES…ALL! rain down upon me and reign in my heart and my soul, Father God. I love You so and, with peace, I walk out into this world with assurance of You over me. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Photo/graphic @ LoveGodGreatly

Photo/graphic @ pinterest from 2.bp.blogspot.com

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering · prayer

Both…Life and Choice

I am PRO-LIFE for ages 0 until death, whether that be at 1 month…2 months…6 months…9 months in utero, or 2 years old, 6 years old, 10 years old, 46 years old, 100 years, 115, 122 or beyond as long as one is alive and with breath.

I am PRO-CHOICE too.

YES…it is possible to be BOTH.

Life for every and all ages.

I want all of God’s life to thrive and live a life honoring to Him.

“You shall not murder.” Exodus 20:13

God commanded us, me, not to murder. I understand that. I am against abortions. I am also for an individual’s, a woman’s right to choose. God gave us free will although we were/are not so good about following His every command.

Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall.  Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel?  For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live! Ezekiel 18:30-32

The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” Genesis 6:5-7

I am not one to weigh in on controversial issues usually. If the Lord wills, I may be more vocal in this space. Not only is the country that I was born and raised in on the verge of…in the midst of…tremendous change in ways I could not have fathomed only months ago, but hatred and fear are running wild everywhere including through the very population I once called ‘community.’ I feel led to stand to say things that are truly difficult for me to say out loud. I may lose followers; I may lose more friends and community than have already departed. I have been writing this particular post for weeks. It was near edit-completion when June 24, 2022/Supreme Court ruling hit the news cycle!

I pray that I will say and write words that are glorifying to my Lord, my God.

LIFE may start at conception…at fertilization…at six weeks…at 15 weeks…at 20 weeks of a pregnancy…at birth.

LIFE is not only about birth. It does not end once a child is born.

LIFE on this planet is at first breath of earthly air. LIFE is being breathed in and out from just outside the womb, at one year old, at two, at ten, at seventeen, at twenty-three, at thirty-eight, at fifty-one, at seventy-six, at ninety-seven, at one hundred, at one hundred four and beyond if God so wills. No matter the stage of LIFE we are in, God provides breath until He does not. That is LIFE.

God is LIFE and we are living as long as He has planned for us.

So…YES…I am PRO-LIFE.

I am PRO-LIFE for ALL of LIFE!

I am PRO-CHOICE, too, for we each are given choices throughout life…to choose our way or God’s way. God gave humans a will. I am against murder but I am NOT against choice. It is up to each person to follow the will of God. Sometimes we do not. We, more often than not, reap what we sow. We are allowed to make choices.

I recall when ‘abortion’ was a heavy topic of thought and conversation, or argument and agreement, in the 1960s and 1970s, before Roe versus Wade was yet in the courts. Back than, one was able to be both Pro-Choice and Pro-Life. It was perfectly okay to not be on one side or the other. I was both then and continue to be to this very day.

No, I have never had an abortion nor even been pregnant. I had choices along the way for decisions I needed and chose to make. There were also decisions made for me by others where my choice was not an option. Some I am okay with today and some I was not okay with at the time of their making by another or by the natural way of things. I can see that I have been in God’s hands, no matter.

Let me ask you:

Where were you when I, a somewhat immune-compromised senior citizen, needed you to wear a mask during the early days as well as at the heights of COVID-19 outbreaks?

Where were you when a vaccine, a set of vaccines, booster vaccines were made available and were free? Did you get them? I hope so.

My life, the lives of the many immune-compromised with cancer, with diseases that cannot fight off other diseases, those awaiting an organ transplant, the lives of senior adults, all deserve(d) a chance to live. Don’t they?

I can hear you are saying to me: “Linda, if you believe in choices, then I, too, have a choice to wear a mask for COVID or a choice to get or not get a vaccine.” Yes, you do.

If you are pro-life, then why is that decision about masks or vaccines a problem for you? Whose life are you for or against? I understand that there may be health reasons why you did not wear a mask or take the vaccine. I know. But for many, that choice was a blatant choice against the United States government more than it was about caring for and about those living.

Most of you reading this blog are professing Christians who abide by the Word of God. Why, then, has it been so hard for so many to have ignored the second commandment that Jesus gave each and all of us?

Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31

“…NO OTHER COMMANDMENT GREATER THAN THESE.”

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

By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 1 John 5:2

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;

for
“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,

but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you. 1 Peter 1:22-25

Father God, I pray for your wisdom as I walk the steps which feel so hard…difficult for me. I believe they are steps You have given me. Protect the women who are in danger today…who are facing trauma today. I curl into Your strong arms and weep my tears into Your bottle. I hesitate to even publish this post for I have spent most of my 74 years on this earth trying to please others, to keep the peace, yet, I am so filled with words, thoughts, and emotion which I pray You have given me permission to write here. May I be pleasing unto You, Abba Father, and only You. I pray in the beautiful and powerful Name of Your Son. Amen.

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

His Birth…I Still Ponder

From My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers:

December 25

His Birth and Our New Birth

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” —Matthew 1:23

His Birth in History. “…that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God (Luke 1:35). Jesus Christ was born into this world, not from it. He did not emerge out of history; He came into history from the outside. Jesus Christ is not the best human being the human race can boast of— He is a Being for whom the human race can take no credit at all. He is not man becoming God, but God Incarnate— God coming into human flesh from outside it. His life is the highest and the holiest entering through the most humble of doors. Our Lord’s birth was an advent— the appearance of God in human form.

His Birth in Me. “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you…” (Galatians 4:!9). Just as our Lord came into human history from outside it, He must also come into me from outside. Have I allowed my personal human life to become a “Bethlehem” for the Son of God? I cannot enter the realm of the kingdom of God unless I am born again from above by a birth totally unlike physical birth. “You must be born again” (John 3:7). This is not a command, but a fact based on the authority of God. The evidence of the new birth is that I yield myself so completely to God that “Christ is formed” in me. And once “Christ is formed” in me, His nature immediately begins to work through me.

God Evident in the Flesh. This is what is made so profoundly possible for you and for me through the redemption of man by Jesus Christ.

From this heart filled with awe and adoration, Father God, I come before You as I look upon Your only Son born as a human being like me. Did He cry? Did He feed at His mother’s breast? Did He laugh, scream, squirm like babies do, like I did? Oh, did He, Lord? I am amazed by His very humanness and by His being God. I thank You for sending Him to save me and so many more like me…sinners all are we. My knees bend as I fall before You while I ponder this incredible Truth. This Truth that has come to the manger as a baby, called by the Name of Jesus, Immanuel, God with us. You, came to us in the humble beginnings as this boy-child…this child. His Name, Jesus, “Yahweh saves” or “Yahweh is salvation.” You are God Who saved me. And You have saved, are saving, and will continue to save many until the end of this age. Thank You, Father. In the Name of Salvation, I pray. Amen.

graphic of Matthew 1:23 on Pinterest of (in)courage @ (in)courage

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

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

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

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

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

Sorrow

Sadness

Overwhelm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How can this be?

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

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

Why is there so much hatred fueling these fires?

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

What is happening?

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

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

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

Grief overpowers me at times.

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

Bricklayers Building Wrigley Field Bleachers/Chicago History/Horsch Gallery

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

I weep.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 * ‘part and parcel’ – The American Heritage Dictionary

Charles Spurgeon quote @ AZQuotes

Rose – Love @ Public Domain

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

** melanin: The Oxford Lexico

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

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

Gardenia – Hope @ FlowerMeaning.org

Iris – Joy @ Espoused to Him

Lavender – Peace @ FlowerMeaning.org

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

Snapdragons – Strength @ WallpaperFlare

 

 

 

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Draw Near

…No more hugging…

…at least for now.

Standing in a driveway, four grown women, who usually spend Monday mornings praying together, were talking, standing at least six feet apart from one another. Since there were four, the circle was rather large on that back deck. This was truly not the normal way of convening for them. This, actually, was a rather spur of the moment meeting for a reason other than prayer, other than “officially” gathering. They were supporting a sister while she looked at a place where her family would be moving in a month or so. Glad tidings abounded along with questions to ask, prayers to be lifted up.

If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 1 Corinthians 12:26-27

We are together as one, yet when we are separate, we are still as one. In Christ Alone.

As time continues in COVID-19, keeping our distances is still very important for the safety of us all. I am a senior. Others have husbands, children and grandchildren. So it was important to be safe.

For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ. Colossians 2:5

It is good to be together even when we are six feet apart for we can connect physically rather than virtually. Paul sent his support, wisdom, the Gospel to his brothers via mail and messenger. Today, we contact by phone, snail mail, email, and video conferencing when we cannot be physically together.

BUT…the sweet news I share is that we are never…no NEVER…far from Jesus. He calls us to be near to Him.

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

For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. Hebrews 7:18-19

Consequently, He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him. Hebrews 11:6

Drawing near is our part. He draws near and does not stand six feet away. He hugs us. He loves us with His everlasting love. I am so very grateful. One of my favorite Psalms is #91. These first verses show us the care and protection God gives to us. He covers us, giving us hiding. He protects us. The image of a fortress is strength and a refuge. I picture one of those old fortresses along a coastline somewhere with walls ten feet thick.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and buckler. Psalm 91:1-4

Thank You, LORD, for You are mighty; You are the Almighty. You are the One Who is close to me at all times for I seek You in the daytime and I seek You in the nighttime. I do not need to find my way in the darkness any longer for You are right beside me, sometimes even carrying me. [Let me dwell in Your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of Your wings! Selah. For You, O God, have heard my vows; You have given me the heritage of those who fear Your name. Psalm 61:4-5]. Thank You, Father God, for You have heard my cry. You know that we, as individuals, need healing whether from COVID-19 and other physical illnesses, from hardened hearts towards You, from broken and torn relationships with others, from lives that have turned away from You. As individuals, as families, as nations, may we all turn back to You, our Creator, to the One Who gave us life. May this world realize that this emptiness we have without You can only be filled by You. Oh, Father God, may I seek Your face in all of my days no matter what my outer circumstances look like. You are all I desire. In Christ Alone, I pray. Amen.


James 4:8 – Daily Scriptures and Good Thoughts/The Unfolding of Thy Word

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

He Had Come From God

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God,

…Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going back to God, … John 13:3

Father God, as I study Your Word, may Your Holy Spirit shine light upon Your Truth, making it clear to me…in my head and in my heart.  In the Holy Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.  

Jesus knew where He came from.  He knew that He had been with the Father before time began.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness.  Genesis 1:26

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made.  In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  John 1:1-2

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

…to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.  Jude 25

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

The glory that You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one even as We are One, I in them and You in Me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that You sent Me and loved them even as You loved Me.  John 17:22-23
As You sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.  John 17:18
Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God,

come from God…

ἐξέρχομαι

exerchomai (ex-er’-khom-ahee)

to issue (literally or figuratively):—come (forth, out), depart (out of), escape, get out, go (abroad, away, forth, out, thence), proceed (forth), spread abroad.

Before all time…from the days of eternity/the Ancient of days…in the beginning…the heavens were opened to Him…there was “us.”  Jesus with God.  Jesus is God.  Jesus comes to earth as the One Whom God loves, Whom He sent, Who the Holy Spirit rested upon.  They are Three in One.  The Trinity.

Jesus knew He always had existed.  He knew from Whom He had come.  As He walked this earth, He was obedient to the Father for He had been commissioned by the One Who had sent Him.  He glorified the Father in all He said and did.  He mirrored the Father.  He died for our sins and lifted us from the miry clay.  Thank You, Jesus.   

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, (1)

In John 13:3, there is another phrase that will complete my focus:

…and was going back to God, …  John 13:3

He knew where He would return when He left this earth.

But now I am going to Him Who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’  John 16:5

I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.”  John 16:28

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.  John 13:1

And he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”  And He said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”  Luke 23:42-43

“Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek Me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’”  John 13:33

“You heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’  If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. “ John 14:28

going back to God, … 

ὑπάγω

hypagō  (hoop-ag’-o)

to lead (oneself) under, i.e. withdraw or retire (as if sinking out of sight), literally or figuratively:—depart, get hence, go (a-)way.

Jesus always knew where He would go when His earthly life was complete.  He knew He would return to the Father.  He would sit at the right hand of the Father.

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Do I know from where I came?  Do I know where I am going?

I do know that I came from God.  He wove me.

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;… Psalm 139:15-16a

He has plans for me.  He knows them.  Those plans include a future and a hope.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11

He knows How long I will be alive on the earth and when I will return to Him.

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.  Psalm 139:16

BUT…I know so very little.

“O Lord, make me know my end
    and what is the measure of my days;
    let me know how fleeting I am!  Psalm 39:4

Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.  Psalm 144:4

Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  James 4:14

What I do know is that I am a sinner.  I know that Christ went to the Cross for me, died, was buried, and was resurrected.  He saved me.  I know that I am His.  I know I will go to Heaven when my time here on earth is up.  Hallelujah!!

Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.  2 Thessalonians 4:17

ALWAYS!  …and another Hallelujah!

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16

Father, Thank You for reminding me of Who You are and Whose I am.  Thank You for loving me so beautifully, so perfectly.  I love You, Lord.  I am Yours.  Guide me along the path You have for me as I walk each day of my life.  I have gray and white hair, Lord.  I do not know how many more days I have, but I want to walk them with You, in obedience to You.  I want to know You more and more in these days.  I pray I am diligent to walk in Your Truth.  I pray I remain the course.  Protect me when the evil one happens by.  I praise You for raining Your grace and mercy upon me.  Oh, how I need them.  I love Your peace that  surrounds me.  I know when I walk out-of-sync with You for the peace moves away and my spirit knows.  Please draw me back.  Oh, Father, I love You so.  In Your Son’s Holy Name, I pray.  Amen.  

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photo:  Wikimedia Commons –  Public Domain,  File:Trees-sky.jpg;  Uploaded: 3 September 2005.  Graphics on them done by me, Linda Gill

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Make Ready

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“… and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”  Luke 1:17 ESV

Many versions read:

“… so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” NASB

“… to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”  NKJV, NIV

… placing “the Lord” at the end.

 

But many other translations read:

“… to make ready for the Lord a prepared people.”  CSB, DBY

“… to make ready for the Lord, a people prepared.”  YLT

 

Whichever way the Bible reads, I have been looking closely at the two phrases in this small portion of Luke 1:17.

“…, to make ready …” 

ἑτοιμάζω

hetoimazō

STRONGS NT 2090

to prepare:—prepare, provide, make ready (G2090 refers to internal fitness)

 

“… prepared.”

κατασκευάζω

kataskeuazō

STRONGS NT 2680

to prepare thoroughly (properly, by external equipment; whereas G2090 refers rather to internal fitness); by implication, to construct, create:—build, make, ordain, prepare

 

to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”  Luke 1:17 ESV

In reading this verse, my first thought was that both “make ready” and “prepare” meant the same thing and they do in a general sense.  Where the divide comes is when the definitions distinguish between external and internal preparedness.

The external layer of a person is prepared:

John the Baptist was sent by God to turn hearts to see their sins, be grieved over them, come to repentance and be baptized in preparation for the coming of Jesus.  Each one to repent can be prepared through this process of repentance.  We will be convicted and cleansed.  Through this conviction and repentance, we are being prepared.

Then, the internal person must be made ready to meet the Lord:

Because of the initial preparation, our hearts and minds are open and welcoming towards the Lord Jesus.  Our souls will find joy and comfort as we hear the gospel even as we are challenged and confronted by the Truth.  We are being transformed in the process and come to know His grace and are able to receive His mercy.  As we walk in obedience to His Word and His will we are being made ready for His coming.

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I recall so clearly the moment when I repented of my sins.  I grieved over the many times I hurt God by my actions and words.  I was being prepared for I wanted to be right with Jesus.  I asked Him to be my Lord and Savior.  From that very moment, I knew that things changed inside of me.  I received a grace that I had never known.  I was washed clean and then washed clean again… hundreds or thousands of times since.  Each time, I have grown deeper in my walk with Jesus.  I was made ready in my admission of my sinful ways.  I was then able to accept my salvation in Christ by faith.  I am continually made ready as I read God’s Word, as I pray, as I learn to walk closely to my Savior.

M. Henry says in his Commentary, We must be prepared by grace in this world for the glory in the other, by the terrors of the law for the comforts of the gospel, by the spirit of bondage for the Spirit of adoption.

The bud is made ready to become a blossom from the inside-out.  The blossom is prepared to glorify the Lord with its outward beauty.

white-apricot-blossoms-and-red-flower-buds

Am I ever done being made ready while here on earth?  I have met my Savior by faith.  One day, when I meet Him in the clouds, will I no longer need to made ready?  I believe not!  Christ is so beautiful to me now.  I desire that He would be all I need while here on earth, but I must admit that things of this world do draw me in.  I wish that were not true, but it is.  As I age, I can say that things of this world are less and less important and I do have more peace.  I pray that He will be all I need or want on the other side.  Hallelujah!!!

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Heavenly Father, I thank You again, knowing that when I called out asking for Your forgiveness for the many ways in which I wandered aimlessly, sinfully, and disrespectfully towards You, Your immediate forgiveness of me rained peace upon this woman.  I am so grateful, Father.  I became prepared.  As I began to understand You and Your Son and the Holy Spirit, I was made ready to receive Your Son as my Lord and Savior.  The Holy Spirit has come to dwell in me and continues to grow me in Your Word, in grace, and in love.  I am just overwhelmed by Your love and hope and peace…gifts only You can give me.  Oh my!  I am filled with a welling up inside of me.  You are my All in all.  Your Son is precious to me and I pray in His Holy Name.  Amen. 

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Graphic of Luke 1:16-17https://www.touchbible.net/image-browser/?version=1&book=42&chapter=1&verse=17

Spotty Flowers: https://dryicons.com/vector/spotty-flowers

Photo of apricot blossoms: http://www.photos-public-domain.com/2012/05/08/white-apricot-blossoms-and-red-flower-buds/

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Thank You, U.S. Veterans

American Flag Eagle Wallpaper (10)

I honor you, the Veterans of these United States of America.

I am a proud widow and a daughter of military veterans.

This day makes me stand proud although sad.

It makes me sad for all those who have lost their lives due to war.

I honor those veterans who return with physical, mental, emotional wounds.  I am so very sorry.  I pray for you and your families.  I honor the families who serve alongside of their husband, wife, son, daughter, mother, father, grandchildren for they are serving this country as well.  Thank you to each and every one of you.

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th (1)

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My husband, Kenneth, was an United States Army combat veteran, 101st Airborne Division/Co. B 3/506; served in Vietnam, 1968-69 serving from 1967-1970.  Kenneth died this past June 7th of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, a recognized type of cancer caused by Agent Orange.  Yes, Kenneth served on the ground fighting in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.  Agent Orange was definitely present there.

Yes, this next photo is my Kenneth in 1967 when he was going through the U.S. Army Airborne School (or Jump School {as he called it}) as part of the 101st Airborne training in Fort Benning, GA.   (P.S. I wish I had known him then!! : ) )

Kenneth jump school

Kenneth, you were a soldier once…and young, along with so many others in so many wars.  I look at this photo of you and see such a very young man…a boy!  Boys, now girls too, tend to fight the wars, don’t they?

“The Class of 1965 came out of the old America, a nation which disappeared forever in the smoke that billowed off the jungle battlegrounds where we fought and bled. The country which sent us off to war was not there to welcome us home. It no longer existed.” *

In the Prologue of We Were Soldiers Once…and Young, the authors were speaking of the Vietnam War.  That is the war my Kenneth fought in.  He came home with what we now call PTSD, but there was no label back then.  They just came home and did the best they could.  Kenneth made it.  I am sorry he fought in that war.  I am sorry we as a nation fought in that war.  I am sorry so many died in that war.  I am just sorry about all wars.  I do not like arguments let alone wars.

History_repeating_vietnam

I am sorry that we did not welcome you home as all service men and women deserve.  So I say to you and to all Veterans, Welcome home.

Kenneth in Vietnam

Kenneth, I have always been so proud of you.  I respected you and loved you with my whole being.  Although I did not know you back then, I am so glad and grateful I was blessed to call you my husband for twenty-five years.  Thank you for marrying me and loving me as you did.  You were the best husband and friend to me.  Thank you, Love.  I am so sorry that Lymphoma took over your body though (for my loss).  You are with Jesus now and that is the best news of all!  Praise Him.  Praise the Lord.

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Scan 7

My father was a Navy doctor, a “lifer.”  He loved his Navy.  He served in WWII in the Pacific and then went on to be a part of the post-war Manhattan Project (Bikini, Eniwetok Islands) where radiation exposure took his life by Pancreatic Cancer.  He practiced medicine in the Navy for 20 years until he died at age 46.

My Daddy died when I was 12.  Thank you, Mama, for loving us through such a difficult season of life, of death, for all of us.

My parents are buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

 

My family is honored.  We miss them.

Daddy, I miss you so much.  It has been 58 years since you died, yet it could have been yesterday.  I sometimes feel like I am still 12, having that giant Daddy-hole in my heart.  I love you so and wonder at all I missed by God taking you home so early in our lives.  I am glad we had Mama for almost 99 years.  She had a hard row ahead of her with three girls-me just on the verge of becoming a teenager.  But we made it.  We all turned out well.  Daddy, thank you for loving us so.  Thank you for your dedication to the Navy and being a doctor.  You were loved by so many and missed by so many.  I pray I will see you again one day on the other side.  I love you, Your oldest daughter

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Freedom is not FREE…never will be either!

Freedom comes with a huge price…one worthy of a fight…but where do we as the United States of America draw the line.  As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ending of WWI, while pondering WWII, especially this weekend as our nation celebrates Veterans Day, how many wars does it take to be free? How many lives?

Where have all the soldiers gone
Gone to graveyards, every one
Oh, when will they ever learn

Oh, when will they ever learn? **

When will WE ever learn?

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.  1 Peter 2:16 ESV

For He Himself is our peace, Who has made us both one and has broken down in His flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that He might create in Himself one new man in place of the two, so making

peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the Cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.  Ephesians 2:14-21

Jesus paid the ultimate price for our/my freedom.  You offered Your Son as the Sacrifice to redeem Your children to You.  I am and will be grateful forever, Abba Father.  May I live as You have called me to live, Father God.  Thank You for these men and women who have served and are currently serving this country.  I pray that we do not forget them but honor them in this life for the honor with which most have served. I lift up those today who came back from war with scars on or in their bodies, minds, and souls. Protect and heal them, Father. I pray for the families of those fallen soldiers, the families of those who are currently serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, in other areas of this world where they are in harm’s way.  I pray for the families of those who have returned from war injured in one way or another.  Oh God, be with them each and all.  I lift up our Coast Guard who are risking their lives to interdict the drugs and the cartels who are making these runs.  I lift the military who have been called to our Southern border alongside the Border Patrol.  I pray You give them and the government wisdom and compassion regarding those many who are seeking asylum to a country they hope is a better place to live.  Oh, Father, there are so many concerns.  I pray on my knees before You. Thank You for hearing my cries.  May we each turn to You and know that You are God and Father of all.  Amen.

 

beblacksig

American Flag:  http://wallpapernpictures.blogspot.com/2012/07/american-flag.html

Fall in Arlington National Cemetery/Veterans Day:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2013/11/11/veterans-day-weekend-fall-color-at-arlington-national-cemetery-photos/?utm_term=.ca70a6b848a1

Private photos from my own collection of Kenneth, Daddy, gravesite at ANC

History Repeating Vietnam/Vietnam Memorial Wall, Washington, D.C.:  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_Veterans_Memorial

* Quote: from “We Were Soldiers Once…and Young” by Hal Moore and Joe Galloway

**  from “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” by Pete Seeger, 1955

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

There is a Plan

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Have these thoughts ever crossed your mind: “Does God even know I am here?”  “Does He care about me, little me?”

The great news is that He does know and He caresall about youall about me.  And I am not little in His mind.  I am His.  That is what matters.  I am so very grateful.  I love the Lord and cling to Him even closer right now in these days of grief.

Scripture is so reassuring.  I read Joshua 1:9 often.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Such an encouraging word to my heart, my whole being.

I read Isaiah 54:5 every morning since losing my earthly husband on June 7th:

For your Maker is your husband,
the LORD of hosts is His name;
and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
the God of the whole earth He is called.

I am a widow on earth but have a Husband to provide for, love, support me in all ways.  Amen. 

So when I question God, which I do, He reminds me that He knows everything that I am going through, everything that I need, everything about me.  I cling to Jeremiah 29:11 for this verse draws me close to the One Who has a plan for my life, whatever time remains for me here.  I want to be obedient for this period of life.  I want to carry whatever cross I have to bear with the dignity that will be an open door to others in following Christ.  I want others to see Christ in me so they see Him first.  Jesus is such a beautiful gift to me and I desire that others will have this gift too.  Use me, Lord, for Your glory.  

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. ESV

jeremiah-29-11

מַחֲשָׁבָה

machashabah

a texture, machine, or (abstractly) intention, plan (whether bad, a plot; or good, advice):—cunning (work), curious work, device(-sed), imagination, invented, means, purpose, thought

‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’ NASB

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” NIV

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. KJV

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of shalom, and not of evil, to give you hope in your latter end. HNV

The plan God has for me is the perfect plan for the life I am to live.  I do not know exactly what that looks like right now, but I do know that He has one.  He had this plan from before the very beginning of my life.  Psalm 139 speaks so clearly of this beautiful promise:

O Lord, You have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay Your hand upon me.
6 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?
8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there Your hand shall lead me,
and Your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to You;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with You.
13 For You formed my inward parts;
You knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are Your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 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!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with You….23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting! Psalm 139:1-18, 23-24

I praise You, Father, from morning until night.  You are my God and know me perfectly.  I ask Your forgiveness for the many times I have failed You.  I repent from the ways that are not, were not, in Your plan.  You guide me.  You change me.  You love me always.  I ask You to walk ever closer to me, guarding my heart, guiding my steps.  I praise You, Lord.  In Christ, I lost the old Linda and was born anew.  In You, I have life.  I pray in the Holy Name of Jesus.  Amen.

I am forever…

beblacksig

 

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Woman at Sunset: http://www.beliefnet.com/entertainment/galleries/does-god-really-want-to-know-me.aspx?p=3

 

 

 

 

 

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

On Being a Widow

comforting-bible-verses-isaiah-43-2

I would call becoming a widow (widower) going through deep waters.  AND then God promises to be with me (you) during these deep-water times.  Absolutely beautiful and so very reassuring.

WIDOW!  A word I have never given much thought to for myself, but the reality is that I am one now.  I saw (and sensed) my mother become one when she was only 46 with three girls ages 13, 10, and 7 to raise.  But me?  I am into this new pathway for a wee bit over one month now at age 70 with no children, no grandchildren.  The precious peace that Kenneth and I felt during the last five months has continued to envelop me, keeping me held and gently rocked.  I cry and know that God is okay with all of my tears.  I know that His plan included this loss as part of my life.

YET…it is not easy.  I miss Kenneth so very much.  Then there is all the paperwork, changing titles, probating the will and…and….  On top of all that stuff, there are buckets of tears!  And not just from the eyes but from this heart.  It is hard Those three words say it best!

Yet, at the same time, I sense the joy of the Lord, His strength, and His love abounding in my life.  He is bringing the right people onto my path.  He sends me to a church Sunday that rained peace all over me.  He is blessing me with the peace that passes ALL understanding.  I love Him so.  I may not comprehend it all so, but I certainly will not turn any of this away for it is my journey.

My soul waits in silence for God only;
From Him is my Salvation.  He only is my Rock and my Salvation,
My Stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.  Psalm 62:1-2

Behold, God is my Helper;
The Lord is the Sustainer of my soul.  Psalm 54:4

To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises;
For God is my Defense,
My God of mercy.  Psalm 59:17

But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord GOD my Refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works. 
Psalm 73:28

“Behold, God is my Salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the LORD GOD is my Strength and my Song,
and He has become my Salvation.”  Isaiah 12:2

Oh, how these verses tell Who God is to me…He is all of this and so much more.

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The LORD will tear down the house of the proud,
But He will establish the boundary of the widow.  Psalm 15:25

אַלְמָנָה

‘almanah

a widow; also a desolate place:—desolate house (palace)

A widow is most often described as a woman who has lost her husband by death and has not remarried.

The LORD watches over the sojourners;
He upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked He brings to ruin.  Psalm 146:9

“Leave your fatherless children,
I will preserve them alive;
And let your widows trust in Me.” 
Jeremiah 49:11

God cares about me, about us.  He did before I became a widow and He still does.  Praise You, Father.  Praise You. 

Learn to do good;
Seek justice,
Reprove the ruthless,
Defend the orphan,
Plead for the widow.  Isaiah 1:17

In Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Isaiah 1: Seek opportunities of doing good: Relieve the oppressed, those whom you yourselves have oppressed; ease them of their burdens.  You, that have power in your hands, use it for the relief of those whom others do oppress, for that is your business.  Avenge those that suffer wrong, in a special manner concerning yourselves for the fatherless and the widow, whom, because they are weak and helpless, proud men trample upon and abuse;….  Speak for those that know not how to speak for themselves and that have not wherewithal to gratify you for your kindness.

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.  James 1:27

I do not consider myself weak.  I can stand up for myself…sometimes.  I can be gullible…sometimes.  Right now, as a one-month-old baby in this new widowhood, I am vulnerable.  I know that because it is hard.  I have just lost my dear Kenneth, my husband of 25 years, this man who loved me as unconditionally as any human being can.  He cared for and about me like no one else.  So I truly am vulnerable and must look to my Lord.  Focusing my eyes and the eyes of my heart upon Jesus is what I am doing.

When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.  When you beat your olive tree, you shall not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow.   When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not go over it again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow.  Deuteronomy 24:19-21

God planned for widowhood.  He knew and still knows what needs to happen for them.  I think of the many widows and orphans in the world today with so many wars and such violence occurring all around this globe.  I do not consider myself one of those precious women or those innocent children.  I have so much more than they do, it seems.  I have a roof over my head and know that I have a meal.  Many of those widows are so strong in the midst of their huge struggles.  God knows each of our needs.  He knows from whence we came and where we are headed.

Honor widows who are widows indeed; but if any widow has children or grandchildren, they must first learn to practice piety in regard to their own family and to make some return to their parents; for this is acceptable in the sight of God.  Now she who is a widow indeed and who has been left alone, has fixed her hope on God and continues in entreaties and prayers night and day.  But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives.  1 Timothy 5:3-6

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She sets her hope on God.  Oh, how I desire that for myself.  I pray, Father, that I walk the path that You have chosen for me, a straight and narrow path.  I rejoice that I have You to trust, to hope in, to love and to cherish.  Oh, I am so very grateful.  I have no parents alive now and have no children.  I come to You for You are my Redeemer.  Guide me each day, reminding me Whose I am.  Be with those widows and orphans in Africa, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and so many other areas of this world.  Provide for each one in ways that will direct their eyes to You. 

After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.  1 Peter 5:10

Father God, I praise You even in the midst of my sorrow.  I was so very blessed to have Kenneth for 25 years, yet I miss him so.  I know that he is free from the body that was decaying.  I know he is with You.  I know those things in my head, but my heart still is filled with pain and sorrow.  And this heart is also filled with joy because You are my Husband.  You are the One I trust.  You are my Hope and my All, Lord.  Oh, how very blessed I am. I thank You for being willing to perfect, to confirm, to strengthen and to establish me as I grow in You for the rest of my years.  The strength I have is because You are my Strength.  You are my Shield and Protector.  You are my Peace, my Jehovah-Shalom, my Healer, Jehovah-Rapha, my Provider, Jehovah-Jireh, my Shepherd, Jehovah-Raah.  Thank You for being my All.  I am eternally grateful to the One Who is Present, my Jehovah-Shammah. In the Name of Christ, I pray.  Amen.  

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#1:  http://godisheart.blogspot.com/2013/09/when-you-go-through-deep-waters-i-will.html

#2:  https://armyofcompassion.me/2014/09/13/lesson-2-one-god/

#3:  https://quotesblog.net/best-famous-hope-quotes-2015-hope-quotations/