Created in One Image – His

And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, … Acts 17:26

And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,… NKJV

He made also of one blood every nation of men, to dwell upon all the face of the earth — having ordained times before appointed, and the bounds of their dwellings — YLT

From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. NIV

We have been created from one man, from one blood. All nations, all people were created by the God of the universe.

So God created man in His own image,
in the image of God He created him;
male and female He created them.
Genesis 1:27

God created each and every one of us. God created us in HIS IMAGE. This is God’s powerful Truth. The color of our skin is a piece of this beautiful created human being.

Melanin has been placed in our epidermis, the outermost layer of our skin. It is a God-created phenomenon in becoming the many shades of skin that exist in human beings.

We are all humans. That is our one race. We are human beings = “Homo sapiens“= “man,” “earthly being” + “wise, sapient” (discerning, insightful, perceptive, prudent, sage, sagacious). Our skin tones may be different but we are one and the same race yet individuals in God’s eyes.

“We are all one race (“one blood” in Acts 17:26), the human race, descended from two ancestors, Adam and Eve.  When we stand boldly and confidently on God’s Word, we can correctly understand the unity and diversity of the human race.” *

We are also loved equally and perfectly by the God of the universe.

May we see one another with this love which God has for us.

And He called us to love one another.

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

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us. 1 John 4:11-12

We love because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19

As I draw near to God, Your love pours into me. Father God, please keep pouring Your love into me so that I may love as You do, as You call me to do. I love You, LORD. May I grow in Your Love as I seek to be more and more like You. You created me in Your image. I want to become the one whom You created me to be. Then I can stand for and with every human being on this earth because You created each one for Your Glory, LORD. May I stand up for the many George Floyd’s of this world, no matter what color their skin tone may be. We are all and each equal in Your sight.

The many who are taking to the streets of this world for the good of humanity, I pray they know You as their Lord and Savior. For those who do not …YET… I pray…

I pray, Father, that this all may be true for all. I give You all the glory for all that may be. Amen.

that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him. Yet He is actually not far from each one of us,… Acts 7:27

At this time of turmoil, let there be togetherness.

At this time of descent, let there be ascent.

At this time of hurt, let there be healing.

At this time of anger, let there be forbearance.

At this time of hatred, let there be love.

For such a time as this, may we see You, the One Who is Almighty God, our Fortress, our Salvation.

Thank You so, Dearest God. I love You dearly.

… 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. Psalm 61:2-3

May our eyes be colorblind if they see differences in skin tones. May the eyes of our hearts see through the eyes of God for He is not colorblind, for He made us all. He loves us all. I love You, Lord. So much. Guide us. Keep us accountable to You and keep us from harming anyone else, from speaking words that hurt another. Keep us close that we will look to You for every answer to every question we have. Remind us that You loved us first as we face each new moment. I love you, Father.

Photo of Hands: https://www.theodysseyonline.com by Brody Hall, University of Northern Iowa, January 11, 2016

Photo of Arms: pinterest

Photo of flesh-tone Crayons: pinteres

*Quote: https://answersingenesis.org/racism/one-race/ by Dr. Georgia Purdom who holds a PhD in molecular genetics from The Ohio State University. She formerly served as an assistant and associate professor of biology at Mt. Vernon Nazarene University. Dr. Purdom is the director of Educational Content and actively speaks and writes for “Answers in Genesis.”

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

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

A Mist

mist-in-herzel-switzerland.-photo-by-ricardo-gomez-angel

But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.  Genesis 2:6

אֵד 

‘ed
… (in the sense of enveloping); a fog:—mist, vapor
…to surround — is whatever guards and strengthens anything, i.e., defense, a bark, a veil, also atmosphere.

And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.  But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.  And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.  Genesis 2:5-7

There was no rain upon the earth as of Genesis 2:6, but God made all of His creation to come to fruition.  All would grow, be given all that it would need in order to thrive in the Garden.  God is the One Who completes all He intends to complete.
  • In the Bible, God has been known in Genesis 1 as אֱלֹהִים ‘elohiym — “the true God as He has created all that is,  Elohim–a God of power .  In Genesis 2, we see Jehovah alongside of ‘elohiym, Jehovah Elohim–a God of power and perfection, a finishing God.  Jehovah--the LORD, in capital letters, which are constantly used in our English translation to intimate that in the original it is Jehovah.” **  The Jewish use YHWH (Yahweh) to delineate The Supreme God, His proper name.
  • יְהֹוָה Yĕhovah אֱלֹהִים ʼĕlôhîym: The LORD God, Jehovah God, (the) self-Existent or Eternal One
The LORD God has completed and perfected His work.  He finished each day and called His creations “good” and “very good.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • mist (noun)
  • 1. mass of fine droplets of water in the atmosphere near or in contact with the   earth. 
  • 2. Water vapor condensed on and clouding the appearance of a surface.
  • 3. Fine drops of a liquid, such as water, perfume, or medication, sprayed into the   air….

morning_mist_1_2560x1600

Before the earth had rain, God provided.  He gifted the earth with water in the form of mist.  The whole face of the earth received this mist.  It was enough because God knew just how much His earth needed at all moments.

God knows what we need all of the time…each moment of each day.  Physically, God feeds us and quenches our thirst.  He provides shelter and rest.  He is near to us.  He loves us.  Spiritually, God draws us to Him, desiring that we draw near to Him.  Before we can be a child of God, Christ had to become the sacrificial Lamb of God in order to wipe our sins away.  He did this once and for all…for all of us!  We must repent of our sins, seeking forgiveness from God.  He never leaves us nor forsakes us.  Jesus is the Living Water:   Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.  The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  John 4:13-14

God provides a covering mist for us by His Grace.  Amen.

We have a journey ahead of us which can draw us to God for we are to lay our lives down at the foot of the Cross.  We may (will) have trials as did Christ.  We may (will) have life-lessons in order to grow in the Christ-likeness.  We have new life in Christ.

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.  Romans 6:3-4

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  Colossians 3:1-3

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  2 Corinthians 5:17

There is hope in Christ.  God provides the mist in order that we be watered and tended to in all we are and do.

 “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation.  But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

 

Father God, You are my Redeemer and my Rock.  You are the Provider for my all.  I thank You for showing me this simple word…mist.  You covered the earth with this mist to make Your creation grow.  You cover me in Your love…You provided Jesus the Christ for my salvation.  You forgive me.  You seek me always and do not let me go.  I sought You and You were right with me.  You desire that I grow into Your likeness with each step I take.  Thank You, Jevohah Elohim.  You are my God and I am Your child.  I am a sister of Jesus’.  Oh, I am so very blessed.  I pray Your protection around me in these days for the trials are many yet the joy is abundant.  Gracious Father, You fill me to overflowing and I am thankful.  Your mist covers me, causing me to grow and be reformed into the woman You desire me to be.  I desire to please You, my Father.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

bwdarkgreen sig

1st Image: Mist in Herzel, Switzerland – photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel – https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/learning/clouds/fog/difference-mist-and-fog

** from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Genesis 2

2nd Image:  Morning Mist –  http://openwalls.com/image?id=14355

 

God is…

 

The_God__s_Majesty_by_TheManWithNoFace676

Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is Thine; Thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and Thou art exalted as head above all. 1 Chronicles 29:11

I write about God these days because pitying myself does me no good.  I do not want to feel sorry for myself, yet I do feel sad, deeply sorrowful.  I miss Kenneth so very much.  I also know that God is in control, having numbered Kenneth’s days and those days reached their end.  My days are not up yet so I must and will continue to place one foot in front of the other, trusting in the living God.  He stands by me.  He walks with me through this grief.  He holds me closely as I do my best to live this life as fully as possible, to His glory.

Oh, Lord, thank You for being right here with me, walking me through…not over or around or under…but through this hard season in my life.  Yes, I would love to go Home and be with You.  Yes, I would love to be with Kenneth.  Yes, I would love to leave this hard and horrifying world.  But You are with me and will be until my time is up here on earth.  Thank You, Lord.  Thank You.

This verse in 1 Chronicles 29 is so powerful and so filled with God…Who He is…all that is His…and what I am to be doing.

גְּדוּלָה

gĕduwlah

greatness; (concretely) mighty acts:—dignity, great things(-ness), majesty

גְּבוּרָה

gĕbuwrah

 valor, victory:—force, mastery, might, mighty (act, power), power, strength

תִּפְאָרָה

tiph’arah

beauty(-iful), bravery, comely, fair, glory(-ious), honour, majesty

נֶצַח

netsach

eminence, perpetuity, strength, victory, enduring, everlastingness

הוֹד

howd

beauty, comeliness, excellency, glorious, glory, goodly, honour, majesty

from Matthew Henry’s Commentary:

“His infinite perfections; not only that He is great, powerful, glorious, etc., but that His is the greatness, power, and glory, that is, He has them in and of Himself. He is the fountain and centre of every thing that is bright and blessed. All that we can, in our most exalted praises, attribute to Him He has an unquestionable title to. His is the greatness; His greatness is immense and incomprehensible; and all others are little, are nothing, in comparison of Him. His is the power, and it is almighty and irresistible; power belongs to Him, and all the power of all the creatures is derived from Him and depends upon Him. His is the glory; for His glory is His own end and the end of the whole creation. All the glory we can give Him with our hearts, lips, and lives, comes infinitely short of what is His due. His is the victory; He transcends and surpasses all, and is able to conquer and subdue all things to Himself; and His victories are incontestable and uncontrollable. And His is the majesty, real and personal; with Him is terrible majesty, inexpressible and inconceivable.”

He is…

His are…

The God of the universe is all and all are His.

He is Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Omnipotent.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.  Matthew 6:13

δύναμις

dynamis

 “inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth”

δόξα

doxa
dignity, glory(-ious), honour, praise, worship

The prayer we were taught by our Lord contains the power and the glory.  We are reminded of Who He is and all that is His.  The Name above ALL names.  He is my God and the One Whom all of myself belongs to and runs to.

Oh, Lord, I pray that this is the way I react to You, the Mighty One to Save.  It is not that I am to only obey and react to Your Greatness, but I desire to see You as the One and Only.  I should not see a victory apart from seeing You as Victorious in all that You are and do.  I should not see the state of being glorified apart from You as Glory…as Splendid.   You are Power.  You are Great.  You are Majestic.  You are Glory and Victory.  Father, You are the Maker of heaven and earth.  All creation bows before You.

“You alone are the LORD.
You have made the heavens,
The heaven of heavens with all their host,
The earth and all that is on it,
The seas and all that is in them.
You give life to all of them
And the heavenly host bows down before You.”  Nehemiah 9:6

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.  Romans 1:19-20a

I want to exalt Him, to lift Him up, to supremely elevate by praise.
(I was curious about exult and the difference between these two words.  I had forgotten. Exult means to be extremely joyful, to rejoice.    Psalm 28:7 – The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him.)

I am praising God, raising my voice to glorify God as He keeps me.  I am weathering each storm because He is with me, protecting me from the harshness of the cold winds of grief.  He guards my heart with His legions of angels.  He teaches me to listen for His still, small voice.  He also guides me on the path He has for my life.  And I give Him all of my praise.  His Name is above all names.

Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Philippians 2:8-11

1-chr-29-11-ww-stock-9x

Both riches and honor come of Thee, and Thou reignest over all; and in Thine hand is power and might; and in Thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.  Now therefore, our God, we thank Thee, and praise Thy glorious name.  1 Chronicles 29:12-13

Father God, I honor You with all I am and all I have.  I pray for Your help in all things.  I pray I remember Who You are and Whose I am.  I am so grateful to be in Your hands.    Thank You, Lord God Almighty.   I exalt You, O God with exultation.  What a Mighty God I serve.  In the Powerful Name of Jesus, the Name above all names, I pray.  Amen.

 

beblacksig

 

 

Photo of bright sky: https://www.kentwarrenmcdonald.com/2017/06/never-blame-god/

1 Chronicles 29:11 Graphic:  http://www.alittleperspective.com/1-chronicles-28-and-29/  —  “All scripture pictures copyright a little perspective. Please feel free to use or share any that you like (free use policy). The scripture pictures may not be sold, and our “alittleperspective.com” watermark may not be removed. I use my own photos, or other creative commons or public domain photos for source photos, but I have not been able to find sources for every photo. I do not wish to violate anyone’s copyright; please send me a note at alittleperspective [at] gmail [dot] com if you are the copyright holder of a source photo and desire its removal. I am eager to do so. Thank you.” by Christine Miller @ “A Little Perspective”

On Being a Widow

comforting-bible-verses-isaiah-43-2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

אַלְמָנָה

‘almanah

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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/

 

 

Kenneth

Kenneth

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
they comfort me.  Psalm 23:4

My sweet Kenneth left this earth in the early hours of Thursday, June 7th, 2018.  Peace, love and awe were written all over his face and in the ways of his still hands…truly, he showed me the way he died.  A beautiful moment, yet so hard on my heart.

He has left this harsh world for the glories of heaven.

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In January, 2018, Kenneth became very ill, was transported to Houston Methodist Hospital where Diffuse Large B-Cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma was diagnosed. He chose hospice versus treatment and we were blessed with five precious months! Kenneth did all he could to make sure this house was in order for me. He taught me things I would need to do and know; had me take notes for repetitive chores that I will need to remember.

We spent time talking of life and death and of our faith in Christ. We loved one another dearly and deeply. We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary on May 22. We had a wonderful and special marriage. I am so very grateful to God for my husband, Kenneth.

Kenneth served in the US Army as a Sergeant E-5, 3rd/506th Airborne (Combat) Infantry, 101st Airborne Division. He served in Vietnam from 4/1968-4/1969. This cancer has been identified as possibly caused by exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
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Agent Orange

Our Vietnam War Veterans may not have been welcomed home rightly upon their return to US soil, but Kenneth received a beautiful welcome into his heavenly Home by Jesus Christ, his Lord and Savior.

Praising the Lord in my sorrow,  I ask You, Father, to watch over my steps, to guide me each day as I follow You .  Thank You for the sweet five months Kenneth and I had together at the end of his life.  I so praise You, Lord, for the peace that I saw upon my sweet Kenneth’s face.  I loved him so and thank You for the 25 years we had together.  I have You for Eternity and what a glorious thought that is to my heart.  I will look to You as my Husband and Redeemer, Lord, for You say in Isaiah 54:5:  

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

And You care for and about the widow, as I am one now:

Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive; and let thy widows trust in Me.  Jeremiah 49:11

I pray in the Name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, Amen. 

 

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God is Sovereign

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This is what the Sovereign LORD,
the Holy One of Israel, says:
“Only in returning to Me
and resting in Me will you be saved.
In quietness and confidence is your strength.
But you would have none of it.  Isaiah 30:15

אֲדֹנָי

‘Adonay

The LORD

used only of God

where God is submissively and reverently addressed

Other interpretations in various Bible translations:

Sovereign LORD

LORD

Lord GOD

Lord Jehovah

the master, the LORD

LORD GOD, the Holy One of Israel

As I read the news, even just the headlines, all seems chaotic, disorderly, out-of-control in our world.  YET…God is in control.  It is His world.  It always has been.  ‘My small world,’ the one in which I curl up within, seems much calmer, quieter, more peace-filled, but I also live in this big world, this world of so many unknowns.  I know the world has been through many awful periods – wars, famines, droughts, annihilation, etc…from the beginning of time.  Yet, I do not want this chaos now.  I just want peace.  I do not have control, though.  What I continue to unravel is that my peace only lies in the One Who does have the reins in His hands.  He has absolute control of His creation…each and every bit of His creation.  He is sovereign.

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 
Ecclesiastes 3:11

In Psalm 147, we see that He has all in His power:

He counts the stars
and calls them all by name.  verse 4

He sends the snow like white wool;
He scatters frost upon the ground like ashes.  verse 16

He hurls the hail like stones.  verse 17a

He sends His winds, and the ice thaws. verse 18b

and in Amos 4:

“I kept the rain from falling
when your crops needed it the most.
I sent rain on one town
but withheld it from another.
Rain fell on one field,
while another field withered away.”  verse 7

“I struck your farms and vineyards with blight and mildew.
Locusts devoured all your fig and olive trees.”  verse 9a

“I sent plagues on you
like the plagues I sent on Egypt long ago.
I killed your young men in war
and led all your horses away.
The stench of death filled the air!”  verse 10a

God can do all – everything and anything.  At the end of many verses in the Bible, the words that sting me are: “But still you would not return to Me,” says the LORD.

Oh, that we would turn from our wicked ways and return to our Creator, the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel.  God’s heart is towards us and He wants us each and all to repent, coming back to Him.  Let us each begin with ourselves.  Do not expect everyone else to go first.  One at a time, we face ourselves and then face our God with humility and repentance, handing our hearts back to the One Who molded those hearts.

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Look at the gifts that await us when we turn to God:

God is our refuge and strength,

a very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,

though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,

though its waters roar and foam,

though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

the holy habitation of the Most High.

God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;

God will help her when morning dawns.

The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;

He utters His voice, the earth melts.

The Lord of hosts is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Come, behold the works of the Lord,

how He has brought desolations on the earth.

He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;

He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;

He burns the chariots with fire.

“Be still, and know that I am God.

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth!”

The Lord of hosts is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah  Psalm 46

Most Sovereign God, I pray for Your world and all that is in it.  You created everyone and everything.  May Your mercies flow upon this earth.  May we each and all repent of our ways, returning to You just as there was a turning of Your people (during the reign of King Hezekiah):

Do not now be stiff-necked as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the LORD and come to His sanctuary, which He has consecrated forever, and serve the LORD your God, that His fierce anger may turn away from you.  2 Chronicles 30:8

“For the LORD your God is gracious and merciful and will not turn away His face from you, if you return to Him.”  2 Chronicles 30:9b

At the same time, God’s hand was on the people in the land of Judah, giving them all one heart to obey the orders of the king and his officials, who were following the word of the LORD 2 Chronicles 30:12

Oh, LORD, that we would follow You and Your Word, trusting in Your sovereignty.  You are the One Who loved us first and Who loves us still.  Thank You for cherishing us, my Father.  In Your Powerful Name, I pray.  Amen. 

Turn to Me and be saved,
all the ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.”  Isaiah 45:22

There is no other.  Amen and Amen.

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Graphic: https://livingselah.com/

Birding Teaches Me about God

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I am a birder at heart although I must look in my bird book for the species-type more often than I actually know the bird I am looking at.  I love to see the winter migratory birds come through here each September-October and on their return flight in April-May.  Here in South Texas, we often see huge flocks of White Pelicans circling above so silently.  The Sandhill Cranes, the Whooping Cranes, Baltimore Orioles, Warblers, Scissor-Tailed Flycatchers and Hummingbirds of all types make this route fun for us.

About two years ago, I discovered Cornell University’s bird cameras.  They have a number of bird cams set up around the country and in Canada enabling us to look upon the feeding habits of many birds at a feeder near a pond and in backyards.  They also have cameras on nesting birds such as owls in Indiana, Texas and Georgia, Albatross in Kauai, and Red-Tailed Hawks in New York.  (I have a sister who lives in Kauai so I first found this site due to the Albatross camera.  What a unique bird that is!! and so fun to watch.  Plus I know what kind of weather my sister is having!!)  It is quite wonderful to see the babies grow up right before my (camera-) eyes!  These cameras can be found through the Cornell University AllAboutBirds.

Then there is the camera in Washington, D.C. where we are watching two Bald Eaglets in a high nest in a Tulip Poplar tree in the U.S. National Arboretum, operated by the United States Department of Agriculture.  We can watch the parents, named “Mr. President” and “The First Lady,” feeding, protecting and watching over them.  The babies were born March 18th and the 20th so they are quite young yet, but developing rapidly!  One parent goes out to fish while the other watches over the young.  Then a fish is brought in for feeding, and often, both parents will feed both babies.  They are both thriving at this time.  The parents are diligent to keep these two fed and protected.  This couple came to this spot to nest in 2014.  It was the first time since 1947 that Bald Eagles have nested here.  This family of Bald Eagles can be found at eagles.org…. 24/7…yes, even at night.  They have infrared cameras on them.

The care by various birds is a mirror-image of how our God cares for us.  He created us. He cares for us.  He protects us.  He loves us.  He is patient and kind.  He is our Shelter, our Refuge, our Guide, our Deliverer, our Life, our Provider.

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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.

You will not fear the terror of the night,

nor the arrow that flies by day,

nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,

nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.  Psalm 91:1-6

…but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.  Isaiah 40:31

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Like an eagle that stirs up its nest,

that flutters over its young,

spreading out its wings, catching them,

bearing them on its pinions,

the Lord alone guided him,

no foreign god was with him.  Deuteronomy 32:11-12

As birds flying, so will the LORD of Hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also He will deliver it; and passing over He will preserve it.  Isaiah 31:5

“The LORD repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!”  Ruth 2:12

…for You have been my help,
and in the shadow of Your wings I will sing for joy.  
Psalm 63:7

“For every beast of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills.  I know every bird of the mountains, And everything that moves in the field is Mine.”  Psalm 50:10-1

And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head.  Matthew 8:20

Father God, You are everything to me.  I am like these young birds who need to be brought up safely and with care.  You are my All in all.  I am so very thankful that You have always loved me so that I have not been left to go life alone (unless I chose that path…which I did).  But no more, Father.  I want to stay near and follow Your path for my life.  I want to be obedient to Your call.  The Albatross fledgling will learn to fly on its own as the parents have gone to sea by the time they need to learn to fly.  But You have given them an innate ability to fly.  I watched one go off the cliff, down, ending up walking back up the cliff to try again.  He made a few practice runs and then soared off the cliff and out to sea.  You have created all, Father.  I love watching these birds because they are Yours.  They show me the lovingkindness You have for me.  They show me that things are not always easy either.  Things do not always work out as we would like them, but Your ways are not mine nor are Your thoughts mine.  But I am in Your thoughts and I know You love me as I journey.  I thank You, Father.  In the Strong Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

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Baltimore Oriole photo

Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher photo

Swan photo

Eagle photo

Joy

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Therefore with joy you will draw water
From the wells of salvation.  Isaiah 12:3

שָׂשׂוֹן

sasown

cheerfulness; specifically, welcome:—gladness, joy, mirth, rejoicing

Therefore you will joyously draw water
From the springs of salvation.  NASB

Joyfully you will draw water from the springs of deliverance.  NET

The same Hebrew word is used here for joy:

Your words were found, and I ate them,
And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart;
For I am called by Your name,
O LORD God of hosts.  Jeremiah 15:16

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john15_11

“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.”  John 15:11

In Greek, joy is…

χαρά

chara

cheerfulness, i.e. calm delight:—gladness, greatly, (X be exceeding) joy(-ful, -fully, -fulness, -ous)

“Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.”  John 16:22

 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.  NIV

The same Greek word for joy is used many times over in the New Testament.  Here are two verses:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  Galatians 5:22-23

 

The dictionary.com definition of joy:

noun
1.  the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation

2.  a source or cause of keen pleasure or delight; something or someone greatly valued or appreciated

3.  the expression or display of glad feeling; festive gaiety

4.  a state of happiness or felicity  [verb (used without object)]

5.  to feel joy; be glad; rejoice [verb (used with object)]

6.  Obsolete. to gladden.

 

Walking in the Spirit, with the Lord, in obedience…the fruit of the Spirit grows on the branches of our lives.  We walk more and more in the image of Christ as we come in contact with the world around us.  Joy is one of those fruits and it can surely show on the outside.  The fruit also grows within us, opening our hearts to be more and more like Christ.  The fruit overcomes the hard roads we walk or the roads which loom ahead.  Joy can bring smiles when circumstances might take us down to heavy places.  Joy can overwhelm the dull.  Joy can depress the depression.  Joy can be the joy of the Lord in our lives.

Father, You are my Joy that lightens my load, lifts my burden, relieves my stress, changes my sorrow into joy.  You bring me near to Your side that I will know Joy, the Joy that You are.  You are my Salvation, my delight, my exceptional satisfaction because You are You, my LORD.  May I rely on You and know Your Joy so that my joy may be complete.  In Your Son’s Name, I pray.  Amen.

 

“And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”  Nehemiah 8:10

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