Which Wisdom?

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. James 3:13

σοφία

sophia

wisdom (higher or lower, worldly or spiritual):—wisdom.

This word in the Greek can mean either worldly or spiritual wisdom:

  1. wisdom, broad and full of intelligence; used of the knowledge of very diverse matters
    1. the wisdom which belongs to men
      1. spec. the varied knowledge of things human and divine, acquired by acuteness and experience, and summed up in maxims and proverbs
      2. the science and learning
      3. the act of interpreting dreams and always giving the sagest advice
      4. the intelligence evinced in discovering the meaning of some mysterious number or vision
      5. skill in the management of affairs
      6. devout and proper prudence in intercourse with men not disciples of Christ, skill and discretion in imparting Christian truth
      7. the knowledge and practice of the requisites for godly and upright living
    2. supreme intelligence, such as belongs to God
      1. to Christ
      2. the wisdom of God as evinced in forming and executing counsels in the formation and government of the world and the scriptures

(In the) meekness: πραΰτηςis, prautēs: mildness of disposition, gentleness of spirit, humility

But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. James 3:14-16

From Matthew Henry’s Commentary on James: The order of things here laid down. Envying is first and excites strife; strife endeavours to excuse itself by vain-glorying and lying; and then hereupon ensue confusion and every evil work. Those who live in malice, envy, and contention, live in confusion, and are liable to be provoked and hurried to any evil work. Such disorders raise many temptations, strengthen temptations, and involve men in a great deal of guilt. One sin begets another, and it cannot be imagined how much mischief is produced: there is every evil work. And is such wisdom as produces these effects to be gloried in? This cannot be without giving the lie to Christianity, and pretending that this wisdom is what it is not.

As I live in this world, I can embody myself (as do others around me) a wisdom that I can call my own, and which, in reality, is not true to God Whom I know wants better for me. He does not want me to think I am better than someone else or think I know more than others. I sin. I am a sinner. That is all there is that!!

There is a way that seems right to a man,
but its end is the way to death.
Proverbs 16:25

I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself,
that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.
Jeremiah 10:23

The opposite of worldly wisdom is so beautifully described in the following verses of James 3:17 –

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. James 3:17

Pure: ἁγνός, hagnos: exciting reverence, venerable, sacred, pure from carnality, chaste, modest, pure from every fault, immaculate, clean; spiritual integrity, moral sincerity

Peaceable: εἰρηνικός, eirēnikos: relating to peace, peaceable, pacific, peace loving, bring peace with it, peaceful, salutary, peace promoting

Gentle: ἐπιεικής, epieikēs gentle, moderation, patient; able to be in hard circumstances yet be kind, courteous, patient, having no hatred nor revenge

(Open to) reason: εὐπειθής, eupeithēs: easily obeying, compliant, obedience to God’s standards

(Full of) mercy: ἔλεος, eleos: kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them; of men towards men: to exercise the virtue of mercy, show one’s self merciful; of God towards men: in general providence; the mercy and clemency of God in providing and offering to men salvation by Christ; the mercy of Christ, whereby at His return to judgment He will bless true Christians with eternal life; ability to forgive quickly

(Good) fruits: καρπός, karpos: fruit: the fruit of the trees, vines, of the fields; the fruit of one’s loins, i.e. his progeny, his posterity. That which originates or comes from something, an effect, result: work, act, deed; advantage, profit, utility; praises, which are presented to God as a thank offering, to gather fruit (i.e. a reaped harvest) into life eternal (as into a granary), is used in fig. discourse of those who by their labours have fitted souls to obtain eternal life

Impartial: ἀδιάκριτος, adiakritos: undistinguished, unintelligible; without dubiousness, ambiguity or uncertainty; consistent, unwavering, undivided in commitment

Sincere: ἀνυπόκριτος, anypokritos: undissembled:—without dissimulation (hypocrisy), unfeigned

And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:18

Righteousness: δικαιοσύνη, dikaiosynē: in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God; the doctrine concerning the way in which man may attain a state approved of God; integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting. In a narrower sense, justice or the virtue which gives each his due.

What I find wonderfully curious is that using spiritual wisdom, wisdom from God, in the world can convict heart and minds and souls, including mine!

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 2 Peter 1:3-4

Father, Your wonderful Word speaks for itself. I see the difference between the two types of wisdom far more clearly today than when I began. I have barely written any words myself. I pray you use Your Word and the words of Mr. Henry, the definitions from the Bible dictionaries to speak Your Truth to any one reading. I do not boast in myself, but I boast in You, glorify You and love You for all that You are to me for all that You do and will do through me. You teach me daily for which I am ever grateful. May I be bold with mindfulness that I am a tool in Your hands. May I be peaceable and gentle as Your heart is towards me. May I be obedient to You, to Your Truth. May I bear fruit in this world where I sojourn so that others would see the light of Christ in and through me. May these things be so, my Lord. In the Glorious Name of Jesus, Your Son, I pray. Amen.

Photo of sky/clouds: dimitrisvetsikas1969 (lives on Cyprus)

photo of James 3:14-16 – IMAGE BY JENNY KENT @ PicsArt

James 3:17 photo/graphic: https://www.thefellowshipsite.org/

“Wisdom from Above” photo: cloud photo from Pinterest with added graphics by me

Trust in…Trust is…the LORD

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:7-8

Oh, may we place our trust in the LORD at all times at this time of COVID-19. May we trust Him, our Creator, our Protector, our Guide for He is our very All in all, All of all. He is Trust itself. May we stand firmly in Him like that tree planted by the water’s edge. May we not fear, nor be anxious. May this be so, LORD Jesus. In Your healing and powerful Name, I pray. Amen.

We are in territory that this world has not seen in many-a-year. Most of us now living on this earth have never experienced anything like this virus, nor the many repercussions that are sprouting up with it. COVID-19 is not particular about who it attacks. People around the world in most age-brackets are falling ill to this CoronaVirus; many are dying. Many have lost jobs. Countries, states, cities are closing down, quarantining their populations. Many people are living in fear. Many have been so panicked by the huge changes in our way of life that buying and hoarding was out-of-control and may still be. Many do not know where their next meal comes from; far more than usual are in the food bank lines. Those living with the virus and recovering at home may be afraid, There are so many unknowns about this virus. My heart breaks for those who cannot see a loved one because they live in a quarantined/closed nursing home, assisted living, hospital. And as I write this, some states and countries around the world are beginning to “reopen” so they can restart the economy. We are all living in new territory these days.

TRUST…

Who is my trust?

Below is Jeremiah 17:7 in a few different versions of the Bible. As you read, notice the way the tiny word “is” (the second phrase) changes the way we may look at the word “trust:”

Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. KJV

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
And whose hope is the LORD.”
NKJV

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD
And whose trust is the LORD.”
NASB

…whose hope the LORD IS!

…whose hope is the LORD!

…whose trust is the LORD!

IS the LORD!

…who trusts in the Lord…whose trust is the Lord. Those two two-letter words say a lot in those two phrases. Yes, I trust in the Lord, leaning upon the One Who is faithful and true. He stands with me through it all. I trust in the LORD for He cares for and about me. I trust in the LORD because I am learning just Who the LORD is.

When my trust and hope is the Lord, I am trusting the One Who is Trust. He is worthy to be praised for I know that I have placed my faith in Jesus and know that He is the Only One Who is completely trustworthy, the Trust I count upon. As I come to know Him more and more, I come to trust Him more and more. I stand upon the character of God in order that I may throw my whole self into His arms.

He is Hope. He is Salvation. He is Peace. He is Love. He is Trust. He is all that the Bible says He is! Understanding Who the LORD is allows us to depend upon the One Whom is dependable, trust the One Who is trustworthy. This is Who God is!

The Psalms often tell us vividly Who God is! The more we know Him, the more we can trust Him.

The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed,
stronghold in times of trouble
. Psalm 9:9

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in Whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:2

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1

But I will sing of Your strength;
I will sing aloud of Your steadfast love in the morning.
For You have been to me a fortress
and a refuge in the day of my distress.
Psalm 59:16

But let all who take refuge in You rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy,
and spread Your protection over them,
that those who love Your name may exult in You. For You bless the righteous, O LORD; You cover him with favor as with a shield.
Psalm 5:11-12

Let us return, for just a moment, to Jeremiah 17:7…

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose trust is the LORD.
Jeremiah 17:7

Matthew Henry comments upon verse 7:

Concerning the abundant satisfaction which those have, and will have, who make God their confidence, who live by faith in His providence and promise, who refer themselves to Him and His guidance at all times and repose themselves in Him and His love in the most unquiet times. Observe, the duty required of us – to trust in the Lord, to do our duty to Him and then depend upon Him to bear us out in doing it – when creatures and second causes either deceive or threaten us, either are false to us or fierce against us, to commit ourselves to God as all-sufficient both to fill up the place of those who fail us and to protect us from those who set upon us. It is to make the Lord our hope, His favour the good we hope for and His power the strength we hope in. Matthew Henry

If you do not know Jesus Christ, I pray you will come to trust Him with your life, your family, the food and water you need. I pray you will seek His face for He is the Only One Who can provide, heal, comfort and love you even though you are a sinner; we all are. He forgives and loves us unconditionally. His provision and healing may come in ways you are not expecting nor wanting but He knows His plans for you.

Let him who walks in darkness
and has no light
trust in the name of the LORD
and rely on his God.
Isaiah 50:10

Father God, You are everything to me. Everything! You are my Trust, my Hope, my Anchor, my Joy, my Love, my Peace. In the midst of this pandemic, I can hold onto You and know that You are my All. In the midst of quarantine, You are Comfort in which I lie. You are Strength when I am weak. You are the very Breath, giving me life. You are the Living Water, taking away my thirst forever. May I be firmly planted near the waters of life, like that tree. Father, I pray You show Yourself real to those who need Your life-giving waters. May they have eyes to see, ears to hear. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Jeremiah 17:7: Year 27

C. H. Spurgeon quote: https://www.cyndispivey.com/2017/06/04/trusting-god-through-difficult-seasons/

God’s Character: https://www.churchplanting.com/planting-churches-out-of-the-whole-character-of-god/#.XqXpES-z1MM

Corrie ten Boom’s quote: https://www.keepinspiring.me/20-quotes-to-build-trust/

“Trusting a Savior…”: Christopher B. Munday @ Deseret Books

A Relentless God

God loves me no matter what I do or have done or even will do in the future. He loves me so much that He draws me to Him even when I am unfaithful to Him, when I live in this world as though it is my home and He is not!

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:10

Israel was, once again, worshiping idols, calling them gods. They were allowing those around them to change the ways in which they worshiped God, slipping in their new moon celebrations and their feasts. The children of God were running away from the covenant with which they made with the God of the universe. And God was not pleased.

“Plead with your mother, plead—
for she is not My wife,
and I am not her Husband—
that she put away her whoring from her face,
and her adultery from between her breasts;

lest I strip her naked
and make her as in the day she was born,
and make her like a wilderness,
and make her like a parched land,
and kill her with thirst.
Hosea 2:2-3

Israel’s provision was from God yet they ignored the Provider.

And she did not know
that it was I who gave her
the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and who lavished on her silver and gold,
which they used for Baal.
Hosea 2:8

Israel turned away from God.

Therefore I will take back My grain in its time,
and My wine in its season, and I will take away My wool and My flax, which were to cover her nakedness.
Now I will uncover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and no one shall rescue her out of My hand. Hosea 2:9-10

And I will punish her for the feast days of the Baals
when she burned offerings to them
and adorned herself with her ring and jewelry,
and went after her lovers
and forgot Me, declares the LORD.
Hosea 2:13

God expresses exasperation with His children, but still loves them. He wants them back, desiring that they honor the covenant He made with them. The God of the universe gently calls His bride back, shielding her from being able to go out and find her lovers – her idols, her gods.

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her.”
Hosea 2:14

“And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call Me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call Me ‘My Baal.’ ” Hosea 2:16

God is so merciful, surrounding Israel with His steadfast love, His faithfulness, His justice, His righteousness. He is so wonderful to them…to me.

Even when I stray, do abominations towards Him, He never ceases to love me and allure me back to Himself.

And I will betroth you to Me forever. I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. Hosea 2:19-20a

Hosea 2″ – John the Baptist Artworks

God loves His bride so perfectly that He will pursue her until she repents, returns, becomes His bride.

And you shall know the LORD. Hosea 2:20b

Through all my wanderings and prodigal daughter-ness over many years, God knew where I was physically and spiritually. He followed me, protected me, called me to Himself. I came to a place where the brambles and thorns would no longer allow me to return to my idols or pagan gods. Those walls kept me from trying to find the things of this world that so attracted me away from Him. Yes, the world and satan had, and still have, a way of luring me aside, but that call, the beautiful call of God, is so much stronger and sweeter that I would much rather be in His Presence. I would much rather be betrothed to my Husband and Redeemer. It is far more dear to me to know the LORD! Far more dear! Thank You, Jesus.

Hosea 1 – John the Baptist Artworks

Hosea served around the same time that Isaiah served, as seen by looking at verse one, chapter one in each of their books. The kings listed are the same. Hosea’s ministry was to the northern kingdom of Israel while Isaiah’s ministry was to the southern kingdom of Judah…

The word of the LORD that came to Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel. Hosea 1:1

The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. Isaiah 1:1

The same perverseness was occurring in both kingdoms. God called them all to Himself.

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth;
for the LORD has spoken:
“Children have I reared and brought up,
but they have rebelled against Me
. Isaiah 1:2

Later in Isaiah, God continues to call His bride to Himself:

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.
Isaiah 54:5

Thank You, Father, for wanting me back. Thank You for not rejecting me even when I fail You. I know I have disappointed You so many times, just as Israel has done, yet You love us enough to continually call us back under Your wings. I am so grateful. I pray I remain with You for the remainder of my earthly life. I know I will be at Your feet in eternity. Hallelujah, what a Savior! You have rescued me. I am learning more and more about You. I want to know You, Lord. Thank You for allowing me such a privilege. In the Precious Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay; and edited @ Canva –https://www.canva.com/design/DADduguRCtc/jmZDRDUots57UVVlW9AIZQ/edit

“Hosea 2” – used with permission from John the Baptist Artworks @ https://jtbarts.com/gallery/john-the-baptist-artworks-series/hosea-2/

“Hosea 1” – used with permission from John the Baptist Artworks @ https://jtbarts.com/gallery/john-the-baptist-artworks-series/hosea-1/

Mercy and Mornings

 

dew-on-grass_004042018

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;

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

nature-dawn-wallpaper-1
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

joy-comes-in-the-morning1

“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~~

After Easter Comes What?

easter

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”  Galatians 2:20

After Easter…how do I live?  Do I go back to ways that forget what the Crucified Christ means to me and how His resurrection affects me?

Easter is central to my Christian beliefs.  His crucifixion is very difficult for me and yet His resurrection is resplendent.  Easter is a beautiful remembrance of all Christ did for me over 2,000 years ago and Who He is to me now.  I want to live intentionally and thoughtfully in regards to what it means to be a person of the Resurrection in my world all year.  I want to continuously experience the Presence of the Living Christ.  I want to then walk in His Presence before others.

Yet, I seem to still be in the womb so much of the time, afraid to come out.  (As a baby in my mother’s womb, I did not want to exit then either!  Mom said her labor was hard and long.  “You just fought,” she said.)  Christ holds me near as I learn to walk in His Light more and more.  I must come out from the womb, that darkness.  I am to do His will on roads, in cafes, in hospital rooms, in homes…the world.  This is not a doable calling from a safe, warm womb.  

He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of His people He will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken.  Isaiah 25:8 ESV

As a person of the Resurrection, I would like to believe that my life shines Christ for others to see, hear, and read, sensing that they have touched the Living Christ, the Hand of God.  Sometimes, this is true, but not always, to be sure.  I want to be less of Linda and more of Christ with each moment.  I am continuously being woven into the tapestry that will be perfect in Eternity…one.thread.at.a.time.

Easter brings HOPE.  As a person of the Resurrection, I pray I am able to offer the beauty of HOPE to a world that finds reasons all around for despair, fear, and hopelessness.

Being a person of the Resurrection allows me to live under the umbrella of God’s GRACE and MERCY.  I accept His forgiveness, offered to me in love.  I pray, too, that I may give these generously.

Easter is all about LOVE“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”  John 3:16  As a person of the Resurrection, I desire to love from His heart, to give from His hand, and share the LORD through my actions, words, love, and life.  May this LOVE cause me to be open and caring towards others. 

As a person of the Resurrection, I do know that the Holy Spirit has come upon me.  I also know that my humanness squelches Him under the Linda that thinks she needs to be in control. Forgive me, LORD.  Please forgive me.  

As a person of the Resurrection, I no longer live in the dark, but carry the Light of Jesus within me as I share light in a dark world.

Delightful Daffodils

God, make me Yours wholly.  Give me courage and strength to be the Linda You desire of me.  Give me wisdom that I would have Your Words and the openness to share Your Truth.   I want to be one of Your people of the Resurrection each and every day, walking in faith.  As You continue to grow me, may I spread hope, love, grace, mercy, and light through Your Truth.  Thank You for giving me life through the death and resurrection of Your One and Only Son, Christ Jesus.  You truly are gracious towards me, Father.  May I carry a Daffodil of peace with me, LORD, wherever I go.  Daffodils just seems to be filled with hope, joy, love, and beauty, all that You are Abba Father.  In the Name of Your Son, I pray.  Amen.

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With Shouts of Joy

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You visit the earth and water it;

You greatly enrich it;

the river of God is full of water;

You provide their grain,

for so You have prepared it.

You water its furrows abundantly,

settling its ridges,

softening it with showers,

and blessing its growth.

Psalm 65:9-10

God sends His rain to the earth…this place we call home now.  Earth.  He sends rain by His will, by the ways He so pleases.  We may experience drought or flooding for these are part of living on this earth.

Our spiritual lives sometimes suffer drought or flooding as well.  Too much input, busyness can leave us with little room for God.  Too little time spent with God can cause thirst for Him.  Sometimes we do not even know what we are thirsty for, yet we know that we are.  “Our hearts are dry and barren unless God Himself be as the dew to us and water us; and the plants of His own planting He will water and make them to increase.”  Matthew Henry

I recall searching hard and long for something that I was missing, yet I did not know what that was.  Years later, through many trials, through many seasons of drought and floods, I found Jesus.  Jesus was Who I needed.  I needed to know Him personally.  He would give me Living Water and I would no longer be thirsty.  The fruit of the Spirit could grow in me and then be harvested from me, from my field of new plantings.  This field becomes rich in nutrients and water from the One Who is the Living Waters.  I grow and pray I will continue to grow.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with Whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.  James 1:17

“…; we must lift up our eyes above the hills, lift them up to the heavens, where the original springs of all blessings are, out of sight, and thither must our praises return, as the first-fruits of the earth were in the heave-offerings lifted up towards heaven by way of acknowledgment that thence they were derived.  All God’s blessings, even spiritual ones, are expressed by His raining righteousness upon us.”  Matthew Henry

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You crown the year with Your bounty;

Your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.

The pastures of the wilderness overflow,

the hills gird themselves with joy,

the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,

the valleys deck themselves with grain,

they shout and sing together for joy.

Psalm 65:11-13

Everything in His world rejoices over the bounty of His harvest…the pastures, the hills, the meadows, the valleys.  There is abundance in all He is and does.  He rains down upon this earth.  He sends His Love to us in His Son.  He grants mercy upon these souls and bodies from on high.  He whispers grace through His wind, through His Holy Spirit.

He crowns all He is and does, encompassing on every side, as a crown surrounds a head; as when something is completed, it is crowned.  The fruitfulness of His world is in His hands, in His power. 

How grateful I am, LORD.  May You adorn Your world with the riches of harvest, both in fruit of the tree and the fruit of salvation.  I shout my praises and honor to You, oh God.  I am so very heartbroken in the broken and breaking shape of this world, of this nation.  I know this is Your world and You know each and every one of Your creations.  I may feel saddened by so much right now, yet I truly can rejoice in the love, the tender care, the peace, the hope I find in You.  I look up to where my bounty and blessings come from.  Hallelujah!

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?

My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1-2

Let all these common gifts of the divine bounty, which we yearly and daily partake of, increase our love to God as the best of beings, and engage us to glorify Him with our bodies, which He thus provides so well for.  Matthew Henry

Father, I am humbled by the beauty of Your Word, by the bounty of Your fields, by the benevolence of Your mercy, by the balance in all that surrounds.  Father, in this season of giving thanks, I am reminded that offering my thanks daily is my desire and hope.  I lift up my hands in praise to You, the Giver of my soul.  You are my All, LORD.  I love You and sing with joy as I ponder the sun rising, beginning each day anew, or watch the sun set, leaving the brilliance of pinks and oranges across the sky.  You are Magnificent, Father.  I see You all around me.  Praising You and praying in the Name of the Bright Morning Star.  Amen. 

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Photo:  kangbch  —  https://pixabay.com/en/barley-field-sunrise-morning-solar-1684052/

Photo:  Hans — https://pixabay.com/en/wheat-spike-wheat-field-cereals-8762/

My Spirit Faints Within Me

Fainting

The word “faint(s)” in Psalm 142 and 143 seemed unusual as I read these Psalms.  We read 142 one evening and then 143 the next and there that word was again.  So I decided to look it up and see where God would lead me.

When my spirit faints within me,
You know my way!
In the path where I walk
they have hidden a trap for me.  Psalm 142:4

When my spirit grows faint within me,
    it is you who watch over my way.
In the path where I walk
    people have hidden a snare for me.  NIV

When I am afraid,
    you, Lord, know the way out.
In the path where I walk,
    a trap is hidden for me.   NCV

When my spirit was overwhelmed within me,
You knew my path.
In the way where I walk
They have hidden a trap for me.  NASB

Therefore my spirit faints within me;
my heart within me is appalled Psalm 143:3

Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me;
My heart is desolate within me.  NASB

Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me;
My heart within me is distressed.  NKJV

So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed.  NIV

My spirit is weak within me; my heart is overcome with dismay.  HCSB

עָטַף

`ataph

(aw-taf’)

a primitive root; to shroud, i.e. clothe (whether transitive or reflexive); hence (from the idea of darkness) to languish:—cover (over), fail, faint, feebler, weak, hide self, be overwhelmed, swoon

David reminds me that I may become overwhelmed with fears, with darkness, with frustration, with a variety of emotions, with the things that are happening all around us…in our country and world.  A mind can become oppressed from the inside, while outward troubles can bring on these fears as well.   Matthew Henry states in his Commentary, “It is sometimes the lot of the best men to have their spirits for a time almost overwhelmed and their hearts desolate, and doubtless it is their infirmity.  David was not only a great saint, but a great soldier, and yet even he was sometimes ready to faint in a day of adversity.” *

I have not literally fainted to the ground, but the fears and emotions have overtaken me over and over during my life.  It is just human for most of us, I believe.  Yet, David reminds me that, although, the likes of Saul, Absalom, armies of many sorts may be holding us captive, reaching out to God is the answer.  God listens.  He hears our prayers.  God knows where we are…physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally.  He watches our backs.

Jonah calls out to God ~

When my life was fainting away,
I remembered the LORD,
and my prayer came to You,
into Your holy temple.  Jonah 2:7

Jonah knew that God was with him.  He desired to be close to his LORD.

David also knew just Who to call upon and Who would hear him.  These men praise God for His faithfulness and His protection.  I can sense the love of God through their words too.  I know God is near.  I know He is with me.  I know these truths.  Teach me more, my Father. 

Hear my cry, O God,
listen to my prayer;

from the end of the earth I call to You
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I,

for You have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy.

Let me dwell in Your tent forever!
Let me take refuge under the shelter of Your wings!  Selah  Psalm 61:1-4

Father God, You are my Refuge, my Shelter when I become afraid of the future, of growing older, serious family illnesses, the violence in our country and in our world.  Father, my heart feels weak and weary sometimes.  You know how things affect me.  Yet, there is only one answer to any darkness of heart or mind…You are that Answer.  I call upon Your Name and You hear me, my Father.  You treat me with love and care.  You nestle me near to Your breast and I know comfort.  I know love.  I know gentleness.  I know You…more and more with each day.  Oh, how grateful I am, my Father.  Thank You for teaching me the Truth in Your Word.  Thank You for healing my faint and stumbling heart.  I want to walk in Your ways and only those.  I fail and yet You forgive this child.  I desire to walk uprightly.  Guide me, LORD.  I love You so.  How can I love You more yet I do with the passing of each day.  I pray in the Truth of Your Son, Jesus.  Amen.

Illustration of heart with heartbeat, electrocardiogram. Vector illustration

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* from “Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Psalm 143”

Unsearchable

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Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
  Romans 11:33

ἀνεξεραύνητος

anexeraunētos

not searched out, i.e. (by implication) inscrutable:—unsearchable

ἀνεξιχνίαστος

anexichniastos

not tracked out, i.e. (by implication) untraceable:—past finding out; unsearchable.

that cannot be comprehended

past finding out

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These two Greek words almost look alike, mean almost the same thing with just slight changes.

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Versions of the Bible use different words to lay this meaning out before us:

Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!  NLT

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!  NKJV

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!  NIV

Oh, the depth of the riches

both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God!

How unsearchable His judgments

and untraceable His ways!  HCSB

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!  NASB

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how fathomless his ways!  NET

Impossible, untraceable, beyond our ability to trace or to find out, unfathomable…the greatness of God, His Omnipotence, His Omniscience, His Omnipresence…He is far more than we can possibly understand at this time.

Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
Your judgments are like the great deep;
man and beast You save, O LORD.  Psalm 36:6

Your way was through the sea,
Your path through the great waters;
yet Your footprints were unseen.  Psalm 77:19

God, You are more than my mind can wrap around yet my heart feels Your love and Your care for me.  I know You are with me and hear my prayer.  You are unsearchable but I am learning more and more about You.  I am in love with You and praise You for Who You are.  I thank You with my whole heart for saving me through Your Son’s sacrifice and His love for me, for many such as I.  He was resurrected from the grave and told His disciples that He will return for them, for me.  One day, we will be together and You will still be more than I could have imagined here on this earth.  Will I be able to fathom You even then, Abba Father?  Your mercy, Your grace, Your greatness, Your faithfulness, Your power and Your might?  Jesus said that we may not understand but one day we will.  I look forward to that day, Abba Father.  I lift this prayer in the Name of Jesus.  Amen.

Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”  John 13:7

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Photo:  Heartlight.org @ http://www.heartlight.org/gallery/526.html

Jesus — Propitiation for My Sins

God, You have blessed me with Your Word, Your Truth.  You teach me as I walk with You and learn Your ways.  You are showing me that by my sins, Your wrath is real.  Yet, by my sins, Your love and mercy and grace are strong and beautiful.  You sent Your Son for me.  You love me so.

For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels.

But one testified in a certain place, saying:
“What is man that You are mindful of him,
Or the son of man that You take care of him?

You have made him a little lower than the angels;
You have crowned him with glory and honor,
And set him over the works of Your hands.
You have put all things in subjection under his feet.”
For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him.
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.   Hebrews 2:5-9
hebrews2Jesus, the Son of Man and the Son of God

Jesus, our Salvation

Jesus, our All

Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.  Hebrews 2:17

ἱλάσκομαι

hilaskomai

to conciliate

to atone for (sin)

be propitious:—be merciful, make reconciliation for

propitiation (n) prō-pi-shē-ā-shǝn–

the act of appeasing the wrath and conciliating the favor of an offended person

atonement or atoning sacrifice

Jesus…

And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.  1 John 2:2

Jesus…

…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.  Romans 3:23-26

propitiation

Jesus…

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  1 John 4:10

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…’Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live…

from “In Christ Alone”

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Father, You could be so angry, so wrathful towards me.  I am a sinner.  But You see through me and know that I need a Savior.  I need Salvation.  You are Just.  You came to me through Your beautiful Gift, Your Son, Jesus, Who delivered me from my sins.  Through repentance and belief, I have been set free.  You are Merciful.  You have granted so much to me which I take for granted sometimes.  I am sorry, Father, for I forget all too often of the many gifts which I am allowed.  Yet, I do not forget that I can fly free from the shackles of sin because of Jesus, Your Son, Your Son’s death on the Cross for me, for others such as I.  Your Grace and Your Truth have been showered over me.  I am ever so grateful, Father.  “Here in the death of Christ I live….”  I live.  Thank You for this precious Gift. 

In Your Son’s Holy Name, I pray.  Amen. 

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Graphic/Photo:  http://pictures.agodman.com/spiritual-quotes/hebrews-29-but-we-see-jesus-crowned-with-glory-and-honor/

Graphic:  http://lifegatefellowship.com/wp/?m=201309

“In Christ Alone” by KOCH, DONALD A. / CRAIG, ANDREW SHAWN; Published by Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Awe or Dread?

psalm 10

When you look at this photo, if you were the one in red, would you be terrified or could you sit in awe at the incredible view?

The Lord is King forever and ever;

the nations perish from His land.

O Lord, You hear the desire of the afflicted;

You will strengthen their heart; You will incline Your ear

to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,

so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

Psalm 10:16-18

עָרַץ

`arats

[ä·rats’]

to awe

(intransitive) to dread; hence, to harass:— be afraid, dread, feared, terrified, break, dread, fear, oppress, prevail, shake terribly.

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You shall not be in dread of them, for the LORD your God is in your midst, a great and awesome God.  Deuteronomy 7:21

For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD?
Who among the heavenly beings is like the LORD, a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones,
and awesome above all who are around Him?  Psalm 89:6-7

“Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread.  But the LORD of hosts, Him you shall honor as holy. Let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.”  Isaiah 8:12-13

For when he sees his children,
the work of My hands, in his midst,
they will sanctify My name;
they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob
and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.  Isaiah 29:23

We can stand in awe of our God’s might or shiver in fright from the world’s terror.  Which shall we choose?

  • Dylann Storm Roof shot nine of our Christian brothers and sisters as they joined in fellowship and communion; even the armed gunman sat with them for over one hour in Bible study and prayer.
  • Dzhokhar Tsarnaev received a death sentence for killing 3 and maiming 264 at the Boston Marathon of 2013.
  • Islamic State, Taliban: car-bombs, kidnapping, killing, taking and retaking lands
  • Drug cartels
  • Armed and unarmed men killed by police
  • Boko Haram attacks, kidnappings
  • and on and on…

Can we pray for these instead of fearing them?

Can we look to our God in awe for Who He is, for all that He does?  He is the One Who enables us to hear from the afflicted, the oppressed, the poor, the elderly, and to be able to do something for orphans, the elderly, the oppressed.

And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.  And the idols he shall utterly abolish.  And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth.  In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats;  To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth.  Isaiah 2:17-21

Matthew Henry comments on Isaiah 2:20-12: “Let not your eye be to the power of man, for it is finite and limited, derived and depending; it is not from him that your judgment proceeds. Let not him be your fear, let not him be your hope; but look up to the power of God, to which all the powers of men are subject and subordinate; dread His wrath, secure His favour, take Him for your help, and let your hope be in the Lord your God.”

Father God, I pray that I would seek Your Holy face in all ways.  Your majesty and glory is above all and before all.  I want to see You.  I want to hear You.  I want to be obedient to You and not follow those who would lead me astray.  Father, You are my LORD and Savior.  You mean everything to me.  I thank You for saving me.  Should I ever be in a situation such as in the church in Charleston, may I be able to stand tall for You, not shrinking back from the love I have for You out of fear to man.  “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”  Ephesians 6:13  May I stand for those who need You, for those who are downtrodden, for those who are old and alone, for those who are fatherless, for those who are hungry or thirsty.  Father, there are so many who need You in untold ways.  Show me Your ways.  Father, I pray these words of Jude: Now to Him who is able to keep [me] from stumbling and to present [me] blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, 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 1:24-25

That I may be in awe of You.   Amen and Amen.

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