Gather

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

אָסַף

ʼâçaph

‘āsap̄

pronounced: aw-saf’

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

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

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

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

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

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

God calls us to gather to Him….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sheep @ water trough photo @ Flickr

wheat photo @ www.wallpaperflare.com

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

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

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

Photo/graphic – Psalm 116:15 @ pinterest

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

His Presence: Basking In or Fleeing From?

Where shall I go from Your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from Your presence?
Psalm 139:7

Do I want to flee from God? Do I want to hide from Him?

Oh, I have wanted that when I knew NOT Christ. When sin was written all over my face. When being forgiven seemed not to be an option for all that I had done. When I had done and been far more than I knew I ever should have done or been. So hiding was what I wanted to do.

But one cannot hide from the Omnipresent, Omniscient, Omnipotent God. He is everywhere. He is all knowing and all powerful.

Psalm 139 is not about running away from God. It is about being in His beautiful Presence, being bathed in Him, knowing that He loves me, loved me first. He created me and He forgives me no matter what I have done or who I have been.

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
O LORD, You have searched me and known me!

You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You discern my thoughts from afar.

You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.

Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.

You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay Your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.

¶Where shall I go from Your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from Your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, You are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, You are there!

If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

even there Your hand shall lead me,
and Your right hand shall hold me.

If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”

even the darkness is not dark to You;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with You.
Psalm 139:1-12

David walks closely with His God. David knows that He is forgiven and wants to be near to Him. He does not want to go far. He knows God well, is intimately familiar with God, so much so that He feels wrapped in His love.

Continuing in Psalm 139:

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

I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are Your works;
my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from You,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in Your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

¶How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!

If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with You.
Psalm 139:13-18

Do you know this intimacy with God? Stand there at that sea shore. Hear and sea the waves coming ashore…the steadiness of them, one after another. The ocean is vast. God created this beautiful sea. He created each grain of sand. He is omnipresent.

Are you so near to God that You feel His comfort, His delight about you, His love for you?

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

Have you repented of your sins? Will God forgive us even if we mess up again and again? Oh, yes! He will and He does! Ask me for I know!

Have you asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior? He wants you to. He wants you to come to Him for He is waiting for you.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me. Revelation 3:20

Have you asked Jesus to forgive you? He will when you ask.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you. James 4:10

And when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”

And immediately Jesus, perceiving in His spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.”

And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” Mark 2:5-12

A relationship with Jesus begins with repentance. As you draw closer to Christ, and Christ Alone, you will desire to spend time in the Bible, in prayer, in study. The intimacy will develop and grow. I have known the Lord for 28 years now. I was 45 when I accepted Jesus as my Lord. These last 28 years have been the best, hardest, and loveliest in my life. I would not trade them for the first 45 years either. And I would not want to spend however many more I am here on earth without my Lord. No way! I am looking forward to eternity spent with my Lord. Hallelujah!!

I now can say without one iota of a doubt:

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
Psalm 34:8

Father, I thank You for drawing me near to You no matter how far away I have been. I see You more clearly with each day. You are Almighty God, Abba Father. I thank You for opening my eyes that I can see the magnificence and might that You are for and to me. You hold me and You comfort me. You teach me and You discipline me. You love me, Lord. I am so very grateful. Through Your Word, You have so many lessons for me. Please guide me as I read Your Word. When I pray to and with You, You are the Light and Lamp unto my path. As we walk together, You teach me. You gather me as a sheep when I wander away. I thank You for the many previous times You have done just that. Knowing that You will never forsake me is such a comfort. Father, I pray for those who do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. I pray Your loving grace and mercy over them as they search. We are all searching for “something” and when in that place, we often do not know just what we are missing. Guide them to Yourself. Thank You for showing me through this Psalm that I am not running from You to hide. I am so in awe of You, of Your glory and majesty. I feel like Moses in the cleft of the rock as Your Glory shines ever-so-brightly. May my face shine when I have been in Your Presence. Thank You for keeping me near as I walk paths of the unknown each and every day. I love You, Lord. In the Name of Jesus, the bright Morning Star, I pray. Amen.

Graphic with C.S. Lewis’s quote @ https://theteachableheart.wordpress.com/2017/04/23/his-presence/

Photo of the night/graphics Psalm 139:11-12 @ https://www.pinterest.com/pin/413486809508317810/

Photo/Psalm 139:13-14 @ https://www.pinterest.com/pin/246501779577399104/

Photo/Graphic of Psalm 139:17-18 @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/hsga/24555887160

Bethesda

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda (or Bethsaida), which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. John 5:2-3

There is a Bethesda in Maryland, USA, located just northwest of Washington, D.C. It takes its name from a local church, the Bethesda Meeting House (1820, rebuilt in 1849), which in turn took its name from Jerusalem’s Pool of Bethesda (Bethsaida in some versions of the Bible). 

There is another Bethesda within the Maryland Bethesda that I know very well. My Daddy was hospitalized for five months in the Bethesda Naval Hospital. He died in that hospital at his young age of 46 from Pancreatic Cancer in 1960. It will be 60 years September 18, 2020.

This was the hospital in 1960. If my memory serves me right, Daddy was up on one of those upper floors. When I read the name, Bethesda, in the Book of John, I think of that five month period of our lives. There are so many memories: good, hard, sweet, sorrowful.

The photo below is more like what it looks today.

It is now the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC). It is the combined legacy of National Naval Medical Center (once referred to as the Bethesda Naval Hospital and/or Navy Med) and Walter Reed Army Medical Center, having brought the two medical facilities together in September of 2011, as decreed by the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) law of 2005. Currently, this is a United States’ tri-service (Army, Navy, Air Force) military medical center, located in the community of Bethesda, Maryland. It is one of the most prominent U.S. military medical centers in the United States, having served numerous U.S. presidents since the 20th century. It is also near the headquarters of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

~

Many find healing at this huge hospital complex. Others wait to get into the pool of stirred waters for some kind of healing. And others die there. No matter where on that spectrum one finds themselves, this hospital is a place for healing. That is its purpose…to find ways into and through diseases even though the physical healing may not occur for some such as my father. Yet this Bethesda is still a place for hope.

Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed;
Save me and I will be saved,
For You are my praise.
Jeremiah 17:14

In pondering Bethesda, the pool in Jerusalem, I found my mind and heart wrapping around this incredible place where healing took place in Jerusalem. It was around this pool where Jesus healed.

Βηθεσδά

bēthesda

a pool (a pond or bath), which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda – the house of mercy, house of kindness, place for receiving and caring for the sick; flowing waters, the waters of which had curative powers

From the Commentary on John 5 by Matthew Henry: …for therein appeared much of the mercy of God to the sick and diseased. In a world of so much misery as this is, it is well that there are some Bethesdas – houses of mercy (remedies against those maladies), that the scene is not all melancholy.

Also, from the Commentary on John 5 by Matthew Henry: Bethesda …had five porches, cloisters, piazzas, or roofed walks, in which the sick lay. Thus the charity of men concurred with the mercy of God for the relief of the distressed. Nature has provided remedies, but men must provide hospitals.

One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath. John 5:5-9

This man did not have to get into the waters that day. He did not need to depend upon another person to place him in the pool which he obviously did each time the pool was stirred. Jesus healed this man after years and years of waiting. He was a patient man, to say the least. Jesus spoke the words and the man got up on his own at once. At once, he believed. At once, he was no longer an invalid. He could walk. There was no lifting or trying to get up. He could take up his own bed. At once, he obeyed. He did not know Who he obeyed at that moment, but he soon found out the man that spoke the words was the Christ.

At once…his physical health and, presumably, his spiritual health were healed.

We are always wanting a cure for that which ails us. Those physical issues gnaw at our minds until we can find out what is going on. We are all staring down the barrel of COVID-19 right now and want all of the answers yesterday. We want to “get back to normal.” We want to have the medical profession tell us the right answer without any mistakes on a disease we have never had before. When they error and then correct themselves once they know differently, we are upset that they did not tell us that the first time. They are doing all within their power to find the answers and give us the straight-up truth. It is just hard…real hard right now. Any time we are awaiting a diagnosis, a way forward for treatment, a healing, it can be hard.

Do these scenarios play out in our spiritual lives as well? Do we want to just be healed immediately without patiently waiting and trusting in the One Who heals? The Lord guides us, teaches us, feeds us His Truth. Do we want to have it all yesterday so we can just get up and walk? Do we depend upon our pastors to teach us the Truth that they have been given by the Holy Spirit? Do we allow fellow-laymen to care for us as we wait and watch, listen and learn, pray and be prayed over? Do we allow them to provide the hospitals, the houses of mercy, while we wait? Or do we have that short attention span, wanting it all now? Do we obey or expect cures, answers without any obedience on our part?

He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
Psalm 147:3

“…For I am the LORD who heals you.” Exodus 15:26b

יְהֹוָה

Yehovah

Jehovah, the Lord, Yahweh, the Existing One

רָפָא

rapha’

to cure:—cure, (cause to) heal, physician, repair, thoroughly, make whole

Jehovah Rapha – The LORD Who heals

Both, in the Old Testament and the New Testament, Jehovah Rapha is present, healing both physically, emotionally, and spiritually. He is with us today.

The LORD sustains him on his sickbed;
in his illness You restore him to full health
. Psalm 41:3

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, Who forgives all your iniquity, Who heals all your diseases,... Psalm 103:2-3

And His name—by faith in His name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all. Acts 3:16

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:13-16

~

Father God, thank You for being willing to heal us of our broken bodies, our broken hearts, our broken spirits. Thank You for forgiving us our daily trespasses and giving us our daily bread. May we seek You in all ways, coming from a heart that is tender toward You and toward our brothers and sisters. May we draw near to You no matter what our circumstances may be. I pray I stay on the path that You have directed for my life. May I be obedient to Your commands, humble to Your call. “But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness. May I boast gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” I also pray…”For He was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For (I am) also weak in Him, but in dealing with (others) (I) will live with Him by the power of God.”** In the Strong Name of Jesus. Amen.

Graphic/Map of “Pools of Jerusalem. Shows area north of temple mount. Photo by Leon Mauldin.”

Photo of “Excavations at the Pool of Bethesda. Photo by Leon Mauldin”

Photo of Bethesda Meeting House; English Wikipedia User: by Daniel Case

Postcard of Bethesda Naval Hospital

Photo of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center: Wikimedia Commons

Graphic: Jehovah-Rapha

** 2 Corinthians 12:9, 2 Corinthians 13:4

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.

names_of_god2

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

hopeful-quotes-images

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.  

bwturq sig

 

 

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.

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

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.
101small

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. 

 

beblacksig