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

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

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/

Thank You, U.S. Veterans

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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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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

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

 

 

 

 

 

On Being a Widow

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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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Graphics:

#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/

 

 

Mercy and Mornings

 

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Merciful
Compassionate
Kind
Such words bring a sweet feeling deep in my soul.  God is merciful.  He cares about His children.  He loves us.  He is kind and compassionate towards us.  How blessed we are to be covered by His Love, His Grace, His pinion feathers.  He protects us as an eagle protects her young.  He holds us close.  His mercies, His kindness, His compassion are meant to bless us.
Mercy can also mean to pity, feel sorry for one, shame, reproach. 

But God loves to shower kindness and compassion upon us.  He is.

 חֶסֶד

checed

kindness; beauty:—favor, good deed, zeal towards anyone, love, act kindly towards, to turn or incline kindness towards anyone, merciful (kindness), mercy,  benevolence, (loving-) kindness; grace, favor, mercy of God towards men;

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Lamentations 3:21-26…

21  But this I call to mind,

and therefore I have hope:

22  The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;

His mercies never come to an end;

23  they are new every morning;

great is Your faithfulness.

24  “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,

“therefore I will hope in Him.”

25  The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,

to the soul who seeks Him.

26  It is good that one should wait quietly

for the salvation of the LORD.  

 

His mercy is new every single morning.  God wants us to know how very much He loves us every day.  Upon awakening, He shows us His sunrise, His dew on the grass, His shelter over our heads, His birds singing in the Springtime trees.  He wants us to know Him in all ways, each and every day, in every moment, if at all possible.  He wants us to feel, sense, hear, and see Him all around us…all of the time.

We want that as well so we try to keep our hearts and eyes open all of the time.  Yes, I miss His beauty when I have my head down, or His words when I have my ears and mind filled with ‘stuff’ at times, but between Kenneth and myself, we find that He is close all of the time.  We remind one another too for we do not want to miss our Creator at all, if we can help it.

בֹּקֶר

boqer

dawn (as the break of day), day, early, morning, morrow, daybreak, morning light

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My husband, Kenneth, continues to walk this earth as he lives with Lymphoma on hospice.  We are learning each day the mercies of God.  He gives Kenneth breath for each day (me too, for that matter).  He gives him eyes and ears to see and hear the beauty of God’s world outside each day.  He allows Kenneth to eat certain foods.  He gives Kenneth strength to work in the garage in order to finish unpacking from our move here last summer and to get the garage settled for me, so that I know where things are and how to use certain tools that I may or will need.  He loves getting his workshop ready for both of us now, me later.

We ponder the magnitude of our God in our quiet time.  We spend as much time as possible together throughout each day.  When I am not running errands, I want to be home with him.  Love runs between us deeply and dearly.  We feel God’s hand in our marriage, not just these two months now since the diagnosis, but for the past almost 25 years.  I spend time with Kenneth in the garage learning and helping and we are enjoying that kind of time together too.

God has given us these precious days…weeks…months to share our love, take care of one another, minister to others in whole new ways, and to be together.  We are more in love with each other than ever.  Even sweeter is that we love the LORD in whole new and precious ways too.  We are taking each day that we wake up rejoicing and thanking God…FOR TODAY!

This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.  Psalm 118:24

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O LORD, be gracious to us; we have waited for You.
Be their strength every morning,
Our salvation also in the time of distress.  Isaiah 33:2

For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for a lifetime;
Weeping may last for the night,
But a shout of joy comes in the morning.  Psalm 30:5

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“The God of Israel said,
The Rock of Israel spoke to me,
‘He who rules over men righteously,
Who rules in the fear of God,

Is as the light of the morning when the sun rises,
A morning without clouds,
When the tender grass springs out of the earth,
Through sunshine after rain.’  2 Samuel 23:3-4

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
The holy dwelling places of the Most High.

God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns Psalm 46:4-5

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But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength;
Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For You have been my stronghold
And a refuge in the day of my distress.  Psalm 59:16

He who made the Pleiades and Orion
And changes deep darkness into morning
Who also darkens day into night,
Who calls for the waters of the sea
And pours them out on the surface of the earth,
The LORD is His name.  Amos 5:8

O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness,
That we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.  Psalm 90:14

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The LORD is His Name…Great is Thy Faithfulness.  O Heavenly Father, Your promises are everlasting.  Your love is forever.  You walk with us in these hard and seemingly dark places.  You bring joy to us.  You rain Your mercies upon us each and every day.  Hallelujah!  The way much of the world thinks, Kenneth and I should be sorrowful, tearful, nervous, depressed, fearful, stressed while facing a Cancer diagnosis and a final outcome of death.  I often feel guilty because I feel so at peace in You, LORD, and because I am not moping around with the “Whoa is me!” syndrome.  Yet we are living in Your Peace, Father.  Your Peace brings calm and quiet to our days.  We feel more in love with one another than ever before, more joy-filled, eyes open to the gorgeous green of Springtime, ears alert to the chirping of birds with their nestlings or fledglings.  Yes, Father, we are facing death in this household, yet there is no room for moping, for feeling sad all the time.  Yes, we feel these things, but we are not living our days in them.  We desire to stay near to You.  We sense Your presence in our lives.  You fill us with Your joy, love, and peace.  Father, these are of You.  You are in our house and in our lives.  Thank You.  We want to be close to You and feel Your Presence.  How wonderful You are, LORD!  How sweet is this time!  I never could have imagined that walking this closely with You would bring such wonder to my heart, to my eyes and ears, to my mind and soul.  Thank You.  Kenneth also feels this joy, love, wonder and peace!  How blessed we are.  We are so very grateful, Father.  In the powerful Name of Jesus, Amen. 

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“Dew on the Grass” photo by Wallpaper.com @  http://wallpoper.com/wallpaper/dew-on-grass-447065; Scripture added @ https://ipiccy.com by me.

Lavendar Field at Dawn @ http://eskipaper.com/nature-dawn-wallpaper.html

Daisies (Psalm 118:24) @ https://twitter.com/kayarthur/status/740532666160828416

Joy Comes in the Morning @ https://sensiblefaith.com/2013/10/07/your-joy-comes-in-the-morning-psalm-305/

Sunrise in Yosemite National Park with Merced River in foreground @  https://www.pinterest.com/pin/282530576598864422/

“Sun Rays Psalms 90:14” @ @}ARosePhotos~~

Every Purpose Under Heaven

 

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I continue to be woven by the hands of God through all of life’s circumstances, events, conversations, precious time spent with my husband.  God is so merciful.  He allows hard, yet quilts it with the downy feathers or soft rabbit fur as for a nest.  He gives us His grace in portions, some small, some huge.  He is so fine and so beautiful.

As many know from my last post, my husband, of almost 25 years, has been diagnosed with Lymphoma.  He has chosen to be under hospice care, and to be ushered into Heaven in God’s perfect timing.  Kenneth served in the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Infantry Division during the Vietnam War.  He was exposed to Agent Orange which could very well be the cause of this cancer.  Life is fragile any day and especially when one fights in a war.  We see affects today with our soldiers coming home from Iraq, Afghanistan, and so many other places these days.  There are prices paid when one serves this country in the Armed Services.

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

I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.  Psalm 139:13-16

God created each one of us.  He made these bodies so magnificently…just think about the mechanics of all of the working parts, the symmetry between those parts, and the details of each part…the skin, the heart, the eyes, and all.  We have been built by The Master Craftsman, Architect, Creator….The Master Weaver.

My husband’s already frail body has a cancer.  He has chosen not to fight it for many of his own reasons, but the real reason is God.  He is calling him Home.  Each night, while in the hospital, God came.  He would be there with Kenneth in the quiet, in the dark.  Kenneth knew and waited, listened, believed.  On the surface, Kenneth was there in the hospital waiting for answers from the doctors.  In the depths, the real answers were coming from the LORD.

I saw Christ in Kenneth more clearly each morning when I came to visit.  I was affected dearly by what was happening to my husband.

We have been home from Houston for about six weeks.  Kenneth and I are continuing to feel God’s Peace and, now, His purposes for us.  We have new mornings for which to be grateful.  We share precious time together.

Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.

They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.

“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.

It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the LORD.  Lamentations 3:22-26

We are more in love than when we got married which is hard to imagine.  We were so crazy in love 25 years ago.  We are growing in the LORD each and every day, growing closer to one another too.

Kenneth has begun teaching me things I will need to know when I am a widow.  (Yes, that is hard to write, think, say, yet, unless God has a miracle in store, I am headed that way.) He is working on small projects as he is able so as to make things better for me.  He is so delighted to have these tasks to do, not only for me, but to give him purpose for each day.  He came home to die, yet only God knows the number of days for Kenneth.  To while away the unknown number of days sitting around or lying in bed is not good for the soul…if one can help it.  Purpose of heart, purpose of mind, purpose of being are vitally important for life.  Kenneth is very much alive today.  He is being held by God.  I am in His arms as well.  Each day is a learning experience and one not to be missed.  Our eyes, ears, and hearts are wide open for this time.

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:

[A time for EVERY PURPOSE under Heaven…we are living this right now…right now on earth…under Heaven.  Thank You, LORD.]

Ecclesiastes 3-1 To Everything There Is A Season Under Heaven brown

A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck what is planted;

A time to kill,
And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
And a time to build up;

A time to weep,
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
And a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones,
And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to gain,
And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
And a time to throw away;

A time to tear,
And a time to sew; A time to keep silence,
And a time to speak;

A time to love,
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
And a time of peace.  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Beautiful words to embrace.

Our time together is precious.  We do not know the number of days.  We only know that This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.  [Psalm 118:24]  Today is the day to be God’s creations together.  He is giving us daily gifts.  When Kenneth’s days are up, I will truly be sad; I will miss him so.  He is so good to and for me.  God blessed me with this man.  So we take today.  Today is holy ground.

Then He said, “Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”  Exodus 3:5

God could also bring a miracle.  And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  Matthew 19:26

Father, I lift my voice: “Hear the voice of my supplications when I cry to You for help,
When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.” [Psalm 28:2]  …the innermost place of Your sanctuary.  Father, You have given Kenneth such insight, love, and kindness.  He shares it with me and I am so blessed.  Thank You, LORD.  I pray Your watch-care over him every day, all day.  Hold me close and never let me go.  EVER, Abba Father.  I ask You to guard my heart.  Guide me upon Your path for my life.  I thank You for loving us so.  Thank You for giving us these many years together.  And should there be more, I thank You and praise You now.  As we have been praying all along, LORD, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.  I pray in the Name of Your Son, my Savior and LORD.  Amen.

He has made everything beautiful in its time.  Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.  Ecclesiastes 3:11

 

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http://eweniquelyewe.blogspot.com/2013/04/a-bit-of-weaving.html

http://ejdodson.blogspot.com

Knowing-Jesus.com: https://images.knowing-jesus.com/i/ecclesiastes-3-1-to-everything-there-is-a-season-under-heaven-brown-4101

https://www.embeddedfaith.org/embedded-faith/tweetspiration-thursdays#.Wp3GcyHw-Uk

 

Oh, to soar!

But those who wait on 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 40:31

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God has placed a challenge of a lifetime before me, yet I feel very little burden.  The peace and love of God rains upon me and He reigns in my heart with every step I take.

As this photograph depicts, fog is clearly in my life.  I cannot see down the road.  I can only see right where I am.  I move forward as God moves me and He meets me right where I am.

Just last week, my precious husband of almost 25 years has been diagnosed with Lymphoma.  A large blockage obstructs the Duodenum from the outside so food cannot pass from the stomach to the small intestines.  Ken has chosen no treatment as he watched a niece go through years of chemo and radiation to gain a few extra years, but through tremendous suffering and with limited quality of life.  Ken just wanted to return to our home and be under hospice care which is where we are today.

During his week-long stay in a large, excellent Houston hospital, he knew the presence of God in His life, knowing that God’s will was being orchestrated right before his eyes.  He was so filled with peace there and that peace filtered into me.

I cannot imagine life without Kenneth yet I know both our lives are in the LORD’s hands.  Jesus will not leave nor forsake us in this trial.  For now, I have Kenneth and I cherish every single moment with him.  What a privilege to serve him in this intimate way and be there for him as his needs arise.  When he is awake and desiring to fellowship with me during his waking hours, I feel so very blessed.  Oh, my!

We are privileged to know Christ Jesus as our LORD and Savior.  Jesus walked the road to the Cross.  Ken and I walk with Jesus, following Him as He wills.

In the days and weeks to come, may I ask for your prayers…for us both.

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Photo from Yosemite National Park Service Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/YosemiteNPS/

 

Free in Christ

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I am free.  Christ paid the highest price so that I could be free.  Free to live this life for Him and with Him…free to walk with God, my Creator….free to love, learn to love as He loves, free to care as He cares.

The liberties with which I have gained by choosing Jesus are yours as well.  You are free if you have given your life to Jesus.  Do you believe in the One Who died for your sins, was buried, was resurrected after three days?  Have you asked forgiveness for your sins?  Do you believe in the Trinity…God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit?  They are One as they are Three.  Have you asked Jesus into your heart?

If ‘yes’ is the answer to these questions, then you join me in being FREE in Christ!

“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”  John 8:36

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.  Gal 5:1

Living in a country which allows many freedoms is wonderful, yet Christ is Who actually sets us free.

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Yes, the Constitution of the United States gives us many rights and liberties.

Amendment 1:  Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. 

Amendment 13:  Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Amendment 14:  All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. 

Amendment 15:  The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Amendment 19:  The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Amendment 26:  The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age. 

These are only a few of the rights allowed us as citizens of this country.

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Those reading this from other countries may and may not have these things given to you.  Whether or not, though, believing in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior gives you a freedom that others cannot claim until they know Jesus.

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”  John 8:31-32

 ἐλευθερόω

eleutheroō

to liberate, deliver, make free, set at liberty from the dominion of sin

(This Greek word is the same word in all the New Testament Scriptures I have used here on this post.)

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The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
Because the LORD has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to prisoners;

To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,

To grant those who mourn in Zion,
Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.  Isaiah 61:1-3

דְּרוֹר

dĕrowr

freedom; hence, spontaneity of outflow, and so clear:—liberty, pure.

(The Old Testament has this Hebrew word of similar meaning.)

 

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Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.  2 Corinthians 3:17-18

Once we accept this freedom in Christ, we have much to do and much to live for.  It is our privilege to stand strong in this freedom, whether we live behind bars, under scrutiny, under demeaning people, or living in fear.  It is also our life’s work to project Christ even when we live in a free country.  There are many who do not believe in a god or in God.  There are many who idolize a god, but it leads not to Christ.  Many countries in this world which once saw God as their leader no longer see God as such.  Many countries depend upon people of varying powers or worldliness as their leaders.  Ideologies may not be Christian either in vast parts of this world.  This Christian life is not usually easy, but it is ours as we believe in Christ.  We are made in His image and others are watching in order to catch us doing something they deem as wrong, or doing something they see as Christlike.  They may be making a judgment upon our ways in order to determine their decision about Christ.  So it is our privilege and position to enable others to see Christ in us as we walk in this world.
For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.  Galatians 5:13
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
 

But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:22-23

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Father God, I adore You and am so very grateful that you are in my life. I live under Your wings of power and protection.  You hold me close, lifting me near.  You have granted me this freedom to live for Your sake and not for mine.  You ask me to keep my eyes on You and that is my desire, my goal.  Forgive me when I fail You.  I want to reflect Your Son to this world in which You have placed me.  I want to fly freely.  I have come to know, in this liberty that You have allowed, that I am Yours and Yours alone.  I am free because I am Yours.  For some, that would not be considered free, but I see it as so.  I can fly because of You.  I am Yours and want to live my life in You.  I hold near to You as I learn to be obedient to Your calling for me.  I love You, Lord.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.  Romans 8:2

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C.H. Spurgeon Quote/Graphic:  http://www.depravedwretch.com/social-images/