Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

The Word

As we ponder the birth of Christ in these days and weeks prior to December 25th, may we seek the Truth of Christ. I have been humbled in realizing that Jesus had a heart, plus eyes and ears, a mouth which utters sounds all like I do. He saw and heard and spoke while His heartbeat kept His blood circulating throughout His body, just like mine! The human body is truly a creation of God. It is extremely complex and oh, so beautiful…all at the same time.

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us; and we saw His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

A baby…a human being…Christ…the Messiah…Jesus…Immanuel…God with us.

By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
And by the breath of His mouth all their lights.
Psalm 33:6

This baby Who by the time He came to earth has already created heaven and earth, animals of the dry land, creatures of the waters, and of the air. He has created man and woman with the Father as well. He is the Son of God. He is one of the Trinity. He is God. He is the Christ, the Messiah.

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
. Isaiah 9:6

Millenniums, centuries have elapsed since the human being was created. And I, a human being, am here in 2021 A.D. celebrating the birth of Christ. My Lord and Savior is Jesus, the One Who spoke words like me yet spoke words into being like no other.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of mankind. And the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not grasp it. John 1:1-5

λόγος

logos

I. of speech

A. a word, uttered by a living voice, embodies a conception or idea

B. what someone has said: a word; the sayings of God; decree, mandate or order; of the moral precepts given by God; Old Testament prophecy given by the prophet; what is declared, a thought, declaration, aphorism, a weighty saying, a dictum, a maxim

C. discourse: the act of speaking, speech; the faculty of speech, skill and practice in speaking; a kind or style of speaking; a continuous speaking discourse – instruction: doctrine, teaching; anything reported in speech; a narration, narrative; matter under discussion, thing spoken of, affair, a matter in dispute, case, suit at law; the thing spoken of or talked about; event, deed

II. its use as respect to the MIND alone: reason, the mental faculty of thinking, meditating, reasoning, calculating; account, i.e. regard, consideration; account, i.e. reckoning, score; account, i.e. answer or explanation in reference to judgment; relation, i.e. with whom as judge we stand in relation; reason, cause, ground

III. In John, denotes the essential Word of God, Jesus Christ, the personal wisdom and power in union with God, his minister in creation and government of the universe, the cause of all the world’s life both physical and ethical, which for the procurement of man’s salvation put on human nature in the person of Jesus the Messiah, the second person in the Godhead, and shone forth conspicuously from His words and deeds.

He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. Revelation 19:13

From the Puritan prayer book, “The Valley of Vision,” page 16, “The Gift of Gifts:”

O Source of all Good,
What shall I render to Thee for the gift of gifts,
Thine own dear Son, begotten, not created,
my Redeemer, Proxy, Surety, Substitute,
His self-emptying incomprehensible,
His infinity of love beyond the heart’s grasp.

Herein is wonder of wonders:
He came below to raise me above,
He was born like me that I might become like Him.

Herein is love;
when I cannot rise to Him He draws near on wings of grace,
to raise me to Himself.

Herein is power;
when Deity and humanity were infinitely apart
He united them in indissoluble unity, the uncreated and the created.

Herein is wisdom;
when I was undone, with no will to return to Him,
and no intellect to devise recovery,
He came, God-incarnate, to save me to the uttermost,
as man to die my death,
to shed satisfying blood on my behalf,
to work out a perfect righteousness for me.

O God, take me in spirit to the watchful shepherds,
and enlarge my mind;
let me hear good tidings of great joy,
and hearing, believe, rejoice, praise, adore,
my conscience bathed in an ocean of repose,
my eyes uplifted to a reconciled Father,
place me with ox, ass, camel, goat,
to look with them upon my Redeemer’s face,
and in Him account myself delivered from sin;
let me with Simeon clasp the new-born Child to my heart,
embrace Him with undying faith,
exulting that He is mine and I am His.

In Him Thou hast given me so much that heaven can give no more.

In the Beautiful Name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.

Manger @ Unlocking the Bible

Word @ Heartlight.org

The Valley of Vision, A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, edited by Arthur Bennett, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Weakness to Power ~ Only by God

Illustration of Lamentations 3:41 — "Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens."

As I return to this place on the internet after almost a two-month absence, let me catch you up on what I have been up to these months. I moved from Eastern Texas to Western Colorado. A house has been sold, a large garage sale ensued, furnishings (and stuff) packed up and loaded onto a truck, much packed into and onto my candy-apple red Kia, shared porches to say goodbye, loaded 12-year-old Bonnie-Girl (the cat God loaned me) along with me into the car for our 1,100 miles journey across three states. Then, I got to unload all from my car into an apartment. Now adjustment to a whole new environment, finding doctors, a dentist, a veterinarian, a church home, the post office, meeting neighbors, visiting with my cousin regularly on her porch or couch, learning about my new home while I wait about a year for the condo cooperative to be built. I am beaten down, worn out, exhausted, yet delighted, happy, overwhelmed by God’s beautiful high desert creations surrounding this valley, this Grand Valley, as it is called.

Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD,
and my right is disregarded by my God”? Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted; 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 40:27-31

Who is the One I cling to, the One I lean on? …God

Who has led me across three states? …my God

Who do I seek in my weariness? …God, my Creator Who knows all

I would like to be able to say I never lean upon my own self or my own understanding, but I do. Oh, I think I know and understand. I want to be in charge, but I am surely NOT! Praising God for He holds me in His mighty hands, near to His heart.

Behold, God is exalted in His power;
who is a teacher like Him? Job 36:22

Ascribe power to God, Whose majesty is over Israel,
and Whose power is in the skies.  Awesome is God from His sanctuary;
the God of Israel—He is the one who gives power and strength to His people.   Blessed be God! Psalm 68:34-35

Jude 24-25

As I ponder my weakness and weariness, I ponder the power and strength of the One Who I depend upon more and more, especially the older I become.

from ‘Morning and Evening’ – the classic daily devotional written by Charles H. Spurgeon

“The act of prayer teaches us our unworthiness, which is a very salutary lesson for such proud beings as we are. If God gave us favours without constraining us to pray for them we should never know how poor we are, but a true prayer is an inventory of wants, a catalogue of necessities, a revelation of hidden poverty. While it is an application to divine wealth, it is a confession of human emptiness. The most healthy state of a Christian is to be always empty in self and constantly depending upon the Lord for supplies; to be always poor in self and rich in Jesus; weak as water personally, but mighty through God to do great exploits; and hence the use of prayer, because, while it adores God, it lays the creature where it should be, in the very dust. Prayer is in itself, apart from the answer which it brings, a great benefit to the Christian. As the runner gains strength for the race by daily exercise, so for the great race of life we acquire energy by the hallowed labour of prayer. Prayer plumes the wings of God’s young eaglets, that they may learn to mount above the clouds. Prayer girds the loins of God’s warriors, and sends them forth to combat with their sinews braced and their muscles firm. An earnest pleader cometh out of his closet, even as the sun ariseth from the chambers of the east, rejoicing like a strong man to run his race. Prayer is that uplifted hand of Moses which routs the Amalekites more than the sword of Joshua; it is the arrow shot from the chamber of the prophet foreboding defeat to the Syrians. Prayer girds human weakness with divine strength, turns human folly into heavenly wisdom, and gives to troubled mortals the peace of God. We know not what prayer cannot do! We thank thee, great God, for the mercy-seat, a choice proof of thy marvellous lovingkindness. Help us to use it aright throughout this day!”

Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Romans 8:26

To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of His calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by His power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

2 Timothy 1:7

They all paid attention to Him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called Great.” Acts 8:10

Father God, thank You for carrying me upon this journey, to this new place for me. Thank You for reigning over my life. And thank You for taking the reins from me when I grab them. I do not want them, yet I manage to take them from You. I am sorry. Hold me in my weakness, Lord. I am tired, feeling physically weak right now. I desire to be strong in my faith in the midst of physical weakness. Please guide my steps. It feels so good to be praying to You, the Only One Who can truly answer my prayers. I pray for this body that You created, this body that I live in. It needs repair, my Great Physician. My back hurts for I have done too much, straining it over these past months. Heal me, O Lord, heal me. In my weakness, You are strong. Thank You for guiding me to a church that is biblically sound. If I am to look further, show me Your way. Thank You for bringing me to Grand Junction safely, across such a long and hard journey for me this time. I praise Your Name in all I am, in all I do and say, in all the beauty around me in this place, in all, Lord, in all! I love You, my Precious Lord.  I pray all in the powerful and merciful Name of Jesus.  Amen.

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

 

Photo/Graphic: Lamentations 3:41 @ Heartlight.org

Photo/Graphic: Jude 24-25 @ Heartlight.org

‘Morning and Evening’ is the classic daily devotional from Charles H. Spurgeon. Written by Charles H. Spurgeon.

Photo/Graphic: 2 Timothy 1:7 @ Heartlight.org

Devotionals · God's Word · OneWord365 · Pondering

Decrease – One Word 2021

“Decreasing” has NOT been what I have been doing this month. I seem to be “increasing” and barely recognizing that Christ is in my life lately. Definitely NOT the way I anticipated I would be headed almost half way through 2021. My growth in Christ is backwards.

I have been seriously pondering a major change in my life in the very near future. I have been praying. I have been reading God’s Word. I have been quiet before Him. Or so I thought.

But amidst the ways God wants me to go, I have been researching the change, dealing with banks, looking into options, sorting through things. Doing STUFF! All of the stuff I do before making a change. So when Lisa (@ Lisa Notes) posted that the 21st of May was coming up, time to link up our One Word 2021, I had not even thought about my One Word. Not even once! So today is the 22nd of May and I am typing these words of how my month has certainly looked to God while I have ignored this whole desire which I had purposed from the beginning of this year.

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30

Today, the 22nd of May, is the day I married Kenneth 28 years ago. He went to be with the Lord almost three years ago on June 7, 2018. We had just celebrated our 25th anniversary as he was dying from cancer. We knew his death was imminent and very soon, by his condition. We just did not know the exact date and time, of course. Only God knows those facts. The doctors had originally given him 7-10 days in mid-January, 2018. God had blessed us with these months instead of days, for which we were so grateful. We felt that God knew we needed this time together. Kenneth helped me prepare to be living alone…how I needed to care for our house, what tools I needed to keep, and which ones I should sell on eBay, which ones were to garage sale. He was so fine to prepare me like that. We prayed together and we shared spiritual Truths together. Oh, the time was so sweet. I am ever grateful. At this moment, my eyes have welled up with God’s little wet blessings that go into a bottle in Heaven. I am humbled by this day, these memories and my sweet Kenneth. I miss him so. So very much!

And these memories draw me back to the One Who saved me. I know that one day I shall see my Lord and dear Kenneth for we both know our Jesus the Christ. And He is the One to increase…not me! Thank You.

May His name endure forever,
His fame continue as long as the sun!
May people be blessed in Him,
all nations call Him blessed!

Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous things.

Blessed be His glorious Name forever;
may the whole earth be filled with His glory!
Amen and Amen!
Psalm 72: 17-19

I seek to be found with humility today. He is my Lord and my Lord forever.

Of the increase of His government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over His kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
Isaiah 9:7

I seek to be on my knees praising God in all His glory and releasing all of this STUFF that it would only be minutiae for me while God handles it as I obey Him.

He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” Matthew 13:31-32

I know that You, Lord, are handling it all, only that I let You. May I be as small as the mustard seed and may Who You are in me show to be that tree. May I be so tiny and You be just so vast, Christ.

Lord Jesus, I seek Your forgiveness in trying to handle things myself. You have allowed things to go differently that I had “planned” or had “hoped.” You are showing me this day that You have this in Your hands. You also have me in Your gentle and yet strong arms. You reminded me of my beautiful marriage with Kenneth and how we sought to depend upon You in so very much. Thank You, Lord. You are guide me. You know my heart. Thank You for Donna’s words last night on the phone, especially her sweet words at the end, that I will entrust my plans, my life to You. Thank You for caring about her and drawing her back to be near You. I am ever grateful for Your Love. I lay this whole change at Your feet, my Christ. I want to be obedient to Your call upon my life. If I am to change, You will make it so and if not, You will make it so! You love me no matter what I do for which I am so thankful. May I continue to learn to decrease so that You increase. I desire others to see You in me and not me in me. In the Beautiful and Increasing Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

John 3:30: photo/graphic @ Pinterest

Psalm 72:19: photo/graphics @ Pinterest

Isaiah 9:7: photo/graphic @ Knowing Jesus

Mustard Seed on fingertip: “page not found” for photo

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Draw Near

…No more hugging…

…at least for now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Caregiving · Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Why Can't You Visit Me? – Pandemic of 2020

Do not cast me off in the time of old age;
forsake me not when my strength is spent.
Psalm 71:9

We are in the midst of the CoronaVirus Pandemic here in the United States of America…the world over. As I sit at home, I am capable of working on chores around the house, mowing the lawn, reading, writing, talking to others on the phone. Yes, I am a senior at age 72 and need to care for myself, which I am. I also like to be productive for God’s Kingdom. One thing I love to do is write notes to allow USPS to deliver. Yes, old fashioned snail mail! I put them in the mailbox down at the end of my block by either walking, riding my bicycle, or driving down there. Yes, mailing letters and notes is still something we have access to, even in technologically savvy days!

These notes I write go to homebound members of my church family as well as friends to let them know I am thinking about them, praying for them. I know that those living in nursing home and rehabilitation care facilities cannot receive visitors right now due to this pandemic. Online, I have seen sons and daughters finding innovative ways to visit: standing outside a window of the facility touching hand-to-hand with the one locked inside, a window in between. I have seem an adult-child and a parent sitting outside/inside calling on the phone, talking while looking eye-to-eye through that window. I just heard from a friend that a nurse at the facility set up a FaceTime for this daughter and father. I am sure there are more.

SO…I was a giver of care to my mother for 15 years as she aged near me, in a senior apartment, an assisted living, and a nursing home. Mama had Diabetes as well as Dementia. The latter ran like a roller coaster, worsening over the years.

The saddening thought for me is, “What if Mama were still alive today (she passed away 1-30-2013)?” With the type of Dementia that she had, some days she would be clear as a bell but so many days and nights were filled with fear, with hallucinations, confusion, anger. What if Mama could not remember that I could not come in the building? What if Mama got mad because I had not been in to hug her? touch her? laugh with her face-to-face? What if she missed me while she watched the Cubs on WGN-TV? What if? Because she had not seen me, touched me, hugged me…only heard my voice every day, several times a day. What if? (As I type these words, and it has been 7 years since Mama died, I am in tears because of these thoughts.)

So if I am thinking these thoughts now, what are you, dear giver of care, thinking, feeling right now? I am so sorry. I lift you in my prayers because I feel this; I understand this. I had to have a few surgeries during the 15 years I cared for Mama. I could not be there every day or even talk to her some days. I know, sweet friend. I am so sad and sorry that you are going through this with your loved one.

Oh, my heart breaks.

We must stand in the gap to pray for the residents who are truly bound in a home. Let us dwell in the shelter of the Most High.

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. Psalm 91:1-3

…for their givers of care…those in the facilities and their family members.

I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the LORD. Jeremiah 23:4

We must call upon God, our Rock and Refuge.

Be to me a rock of refuge,
to which I may continually come;
You have given the command to save me,
for You are my rock and my fortress
. Psalm 71:3

God will bring us through this pestilence no matter the consequences. May we depend upon Him, the One Who has promised:

…even to your old age I am He,
and to gray hairs I will carry you.
I have made, and I will bear;
I will carry and will save.
Isaiah 46:4

Pray to the One Who answers:

Hear my cry, O God,
listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to You
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I, for You have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in your tent forever!
Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah.
Psalm 61:1-4

He has given us His Word, His Truth upon which to stand.

Father God, these precious ones, these ones who may not understand why we have not been to see them, why we are not there to visit on the regular schedule we have been on for possibly years. Blessed Shepherd, please gather them all into Your safe keeping and grant them mercy, comfort, and grace in this time. If they suffer from Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, any kind of fear, loneliness, please hold them to Your bosom where they will feel safe and warm. Thank You, LORD. You are my Shepherd. I am so grateful to be in Your flock. I know where my life came from, and where I will go when I die. I will be with You for eternity. For any who do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior, I pray they will call upon Your Name in this darkness for You are Light. May all seek Your face and know to Whom they must turn: Jesus said to him, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6). I pray for their salvation. In Your Son’s Holy Name, I pray. Amen.

Thanksgiving, 2012

I have a series on Caregiving that I did while Mama was alive and reprinted afterwards for a few other sites. You can find the series posted at the top of this page or linked right here- Giving Care God’s Way

Photo of Mama, January, 2013: L. Gill

Broken Heart: Bible Study Tools

Isaiah 46:4 graphic: A Little Perspective Christine Miller

Sheep and Shepherd by Anton Mauve: Circa 1880, Cincinnati Museum; Public Domain @ Wikimedia Commons

Psalm 91:1 graphic: A Little Perspective Christine Miller

Photo of Mama, Kenneth and me, Thanksgiving, 2012: L. Gill

Heart: Icon by Dryicons

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Sisters in Christ Jesus

I spend one morning each week with 5-8 women. We all attend the same church as we worship the Lord. We have been meeting weekly for about 9 months now. We are women of all ages, from 30s to 70s. Some have young families. Some are grandparents. Some live near family. Some live far apart from their parents, children, grandchildren. We live in East Texas. Some are from here. Some are from places far away, such as California, Montana, New Mexico, Louisiana. Our backgrounds are so different. Our arrival to Christianity is unique to each. Some came to Jesus as children, others as adults. Our walk with the Lord is also so different.

Yet, we are the body of Christ…all Christians, all sisters in the Lord.

…so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Romans 12:5

I am amazed at the beauty that God is in our midst. He is faithful to draw us near to Him, the One Who created us, Who loves us so.

Each week, we gather around a table where we sip coffee, tea, juice. We eat muffins, fruit, nuts, other tasty treats which our hostess graciously lays out for us.

Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Romans 12:13

One by one, we begin sharing our pray needs, concerns, praises. We each have a journal where we write down what each of our sisters need so as to jar the memory as we pray throughout the week. When the first one wraps up her words, one of us steps up to pray for her in this moment. Outloud. In sweet surrender to the Lord. Laying her at the foot of the Cross.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

We continue around the table, sharing, praying. Sometimes guidance is given. All is in love.

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10

Recently, I shared my heart through God’s prompting. I did not plan this as I am often rather quiet, sharing just things of the surface. But not this particular Monday. No, the women got to know me quite a bit more through words that dug deeply, to the very core of my being. Words that opened up long-ago wounds…wounds that I thought had been healed years ago. As one woman shared in a word-picture: it is healed over, but there is scar tissue all around. By that, there is still pain at times. I cried and cried for it was like it was all right at the top. These precious sisters did not know this history about me. They wept with me and loved me. They prayed for me, loving me through their words to our God, the Listener of our humble and humbling prayers.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15

Each week brings different and similar prayer requests. Each week, there may be all 8 of us, or maybe only 2, 3 or 4 of us. It does not matter for we desire to pray for one another. We have grown to know one another over these months as we barely did when we began. One of the ladies drew us together for the purpose of prayer and fellowship. She chose people of various ages, various stages of life and spiritual walks. I believe God picked us each and let her know just who He desired to have around this table.

Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in the Spirit, serve the Lord. Romans 12:11

We open our homes, our hearts, our minds, and souls. Some of us may be more open one week, and others at other times, but we share each week, as best we can.

We want to grow in the Lord as we pray.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2

When hard things are going on in a life of a sister, we want to be shoulder-to-shoulder with her. We want to wrap her in the Word, in our love which comes from God, our Source. We want to be attentive to her needs.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Romans 12:3-5

We want to share with one another what God is teaching us, whether it be through exhortation, a Scripture, arms wrapped around, a prayer lifted up.

Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 12:6-8

All of God’s people are ordinary people who have been made extraordinary by the purpose He has given them. Oswald Chambers

As we seek to honor the Lord, we watch the words of our mouth, that they be without gossip or slander so as to not revile His Word. As we desire to glorify His Name, we show one another the love that is His.

Praise You, LORD. You are Mighty God, the Holy One of Israel. You are the Creator of all to Whom I humbly bow. You have given me life in Christ. You have brought me by Your side and into Your Kingdom. You, O God, are my God. You have dealt with me graciously. You have given me these precious sisters of whom I love and respect. They have come alongside of me to be honest, open, sweet and prayerful. They allow me to be this one whom You wove in my mother’s womb, this one whom I am still learning about at this age for I became a new creature only 27 years ago. I am young in You, my LORD. Whatever time I have remaining in this life on earth, teach me, O LORD, teach me. Through these women, I learn. Through Your Word, I learn. Through life, I learn. Teach me for I want to know You, LORD. In the precious Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Photo/Graphic: Sisters in Christ, Forever – https://simplysharingandserving.weebly.com

Heart Graphic: http://www.fbcvan.org/womens-ministry/

Graphics: Romans 12:5 – https://www.amazingfacts.org/bible-study/scripture-pictures/the-book-of-romans

Graphic: Romans 12:13 – https://whateveryoudodowell.wordpress.com

Graphic: Romans 12:12 – https://abbashousetexas.com/2018/04/03/romans-12-prayer-for-refugees/

Graphic: Romans 12:10 – https://www.heartlight.org/gallery/book/romans/2/

Graphic: Romans 12:15 – https://www.heartlight.org/gallery/book/romans/2/

Graphic: Romans 12:11 – https://brightandclean.tumblr.com/post/48796377488/romans-1211

Photo/graphic: Romans 12:1-2 – https://www.heartlight.org/cgi-shl/praying_paul/pwp.pl?047

Photo/graphic: Romans 12:4-5 – http://www.triciagoyer.com/one-body-romans/

Graphic: Dove/Holy Spirit/Gifts – https://the-end-time.blogspot.com/2012/10/are-miraculous-spiritual-gifts-for.html

Photo/Graphic: Flowers in Jar/”Like flowers…” – sanibelsoaps.com

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

His Name

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 2:9-11

The Name of Jesus …

Ἰησοῦς

Iēsous

Jehovah is salvation …

Jesus was a fairly common name in that time. Joshua and Jesus mean “Yahweh saves” or “the Lord is salvation.”

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

Jesus, the Son of God, the Savior of mankind, God incarnate took on human flesh for the purposes of God. He carried our sin to the cross. There, He shed His blood as a sacrifice for us.

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13

Salvation is the key to life and death. Seeking God and the redemption He offers through His Son, Jesus Christ, is the ultimate gift, given freely. May we accept it with open eyes, hearts, and hands.

But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. Acts 3:6-7

I may not have gold or silver either. I may not drive a fancy car or live in a mansion, but I have so much more. I am rich. Christ is my Everything. He is my All. He is my Provider, my Protector, my Husband, my Savior, my Peace, my Bread of Life and Living Water. He is the Name above all names.

From Matthew Henry: Commentary on Acts 3: “Christ sent his word, and healed him (Ps. 107:20); for healing grace is given by the word of Christ; this is the vehicle of the healing virtue derived from Christ. Christ spoke cures by himself; the apostles spoke them in his name. Peter bids a lame man rise up and walk, which would have been a banter upon him if he had not premised in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth: “I say it by warrant from him, and it shall be done by power from him, and all the glory and praise of it shall be ascribed to him.’ He calls Christ Jesus of Nazareth, which was a name of reproach, to intimate that the indignities done him on earth served but as a foil to his glories now that he was in heaven. “Give him what name you will, call him if you will in scorn Jesus of Nazareth, in that name you shall see wonders done; for, because he humbled Himself, thus highly was he exalted.’ He bids the cripple rise up and walk, which does not prove that he had power in himself to do it, but that if he attempt to rise and walk, and, in a sense of his own impotency, depend upon a divine power to enable him to do it, he shall be enabled; and by rising and walking he must evidence what that power has wrought upon him; and then let him take the comfort, and let God have the praise. Thus it is in the healing of our souls, which are spiritually impotent.

Again, from Matthew Henry: Commentary on Acts 3: Peter lent his hand, and helped him (v. 7): He took him by the right hand, in the same name in which he had spoken to him to arise and walk, and lifted him up. Not that this could contribute any thing to his cure; but it was a sign, plainly intimating the help he should receive from God, if he exerted himself as he was bidden. When God by his word commands us to rise, and walk in the way of his commandments, if we mix faith with that word, and lay our souls under the power of it, he will give his Spirit to take us by the hand, and lift us up. If we set ourselves to do what we can, God has promised his grace to enable us to do what we cannot; and by that promise we partake of a new nature, and that grace shall not be in vain; it was not here: His feet and ankle-bones received strength, which they had not done if he had not attempted to rise, and been helped up; he does his part, and Peter does his, and yet it is Christ that does all: it is he that puts strength into him. As the bread was multiplied in the breaking, and the water turned into wine in the pouring out, so strength was given to the cripple’s feet in his stirring them and using them.

Father, that which You will for me, for my life, is mine when I ask in the Name of Your Holy Son, Jesus. I have a heart filled with gratitude. I love You. Amen.

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His great might that He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things under His feet and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. Ephesians 1:15-23

the fullness of Him who fills all in all. Amen and Amen.

“If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Whom you crucified, Whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:9-12

God, Who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, Whom He has appointed heir of all things, through Whom also He made the worlds; Who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. Hebrews 1:1-4

And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11

so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 1:12

Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 1 Peter 4:16

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,… Matthew 28:19

Whatever you ask in My name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. John 14:13-14

Whether I walk amongst strangers or with those I know, I can only be a light in this world when I depend on Jesus to light me for He is the Light. I cannot do anything without Him. He is the Source by which I am able to love, to pray, to light a dark place. He holds me that I may hold another. He loved me first that I may splay love where I go. It is by the power of His Name that I can do the things…through Christ, my Lord and Savior.

LORD God, I love You so. Thank You for drawing me to Yourself. I pray that I may draw others to You by the light that shines from within in by the Light that is Jesus. You are molding me to look more and more like Jesus with every day, with every breath. Your very Presence is with me as I draw near to You, my Father. I desire You to be the center of my life. I pray that I would want nothing more than You, LORD. I pray my love will grow for You with each day. I pray in the Name of Your Son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Amen.

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Graphic: Philippians 2:9: https://blog.truthforlife.org

Graphic: In the Name of Jesus (brown): http://www.turnbacktogod.com/christian-whatsapp-images/

Photo: Gold and Silver: https://randomdescent.wordpress.com/2015/09/12/silver-and-gold-in-folklore/

Graphic: Power in the Name: https://answersafrica.com/power-name-jesus.html

Graphic: In the Name of Jesus (purple): https://immanuelbaptist.org/in-the-name-of-jesus/

Graphic: Hebrews 1:3: Darrell Creswell @ https://darrellcreswell.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/bible-verse-scriptures-in-pictures-interesting-bible-facts/

Justify, Sanctify, Glorify: Photo from https://mudpreacher.org/tag/gifts/; added text to photo

Graphic: Name Above All Names: https://apologika.blogspot.com/2015/09/what-is-name-above-all-names.html

Graphic: There is Pardon: https://www.reviveourhearts.com/true-woman/blog/the-name-that-matters-most-jesus/

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

On Being a Widow

comforting-bible-verses-isaiah-43-2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

אַלְמָנָה

‘almanah

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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/

 

 

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Oh…to Let Go

hanging-on

Oh, how I have struggled with aspects of life, wanting my own way, not wanting to lose control of things that I believe I have control over.  There have been times where I just refused to give in and other times where I gave in feeling defeated.  Either way, it was all about SELF, about ME!!  My will, my ego needed nourishing and placed above all else, even above God…OR so I believed.

As I grow in the LORD, He shows me His way, His will.  I let go, but not always without a struggle.  So the lessons must be taught and re-taught.  My desire to write about “letting go” has taken me down a sweet road with Jesus.

Thank you, Jesus, for never giving up on me, even when I have been stubborn.  Thank You for walking with me and teaching me the Truth.  You are The Word.  You are where I desire to dwell. 

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. 
Psalm 19:14

In the Name of Jesus, The Word.  Amen. 

twisted-rope-close-up

A rope with two stories upon which I dangle and learn letting go!

from Genesis 32: And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day.  When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.”  Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him.  So Jacob called the name of the place Penuel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.  Genesis 32:24-31

A few verses earlier in this chapter of Genesis, Jacob prayed heartily to God for protection, laying out his great fears, and reminding God of His promises:  
“… But You have said, ‘I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.’ ”  Genesis 32:12  How often I pray and then wrestle with all that I prayed, even with the prayers I did not know how to utter, often keeping me awake for hours into the night!  Jacob stayed strong in his struggle and did not quit although he received an injury in the hip joint by a touch.  Jacob’s faith in God and his deep prayer life prevailed above his fears.  Jacob’s strength caused him to wrestle and prevail with God for promised blessings.  God did bless him with a new name, Israel, meaning prince with God, a most honorable name, plus God fulfilled His promises.  Jacob was forever reminded of this struggle by the hip injury, a limp.  Jacob did not let go until God released him, yet he was humbled by the injury, yet praised and honored God for blessing him as well as deliverance of his life.  As the sun rose, communion between Israel and God was shared.  Jacob, now Israel, let go of his fears and no longer needed to wrestle with God.

from Luke 13: And there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years.  She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself.  When Jesus saw her, He called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.”  And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God.  Luke 13:11-13

 

This woman struggled with a spirit that disabled her for a long time.  Jesus touched her.  Her body was healed…from bent-over to straight.  She had lived in a humbled position all bent over for years, possibly dependent upon others, made fun of, or even neglected.  The healing may have changed her posture and removed the disabling spirit, yet she did not go around saying, “Look at me!  Look what I did!”  What she did do was…“She glorified God.”  I believe she remained humbled, recalling often her blessing from God.  In continued humility, she praised Him, seemingly being able to let go of eighteen years of suffering and maybe there was self-pity to release too.  How else can one rejoice as she did?  God healed her.  She could stand tall.  I believe she could let go of the past, looked ahead and UPward unto God

Letting go humbles me by understanding God’s promises, believing Him for them, praying unto Him, and standing strong in those promises and blessings, knowing He will, indeed, fulfill them.  He may allow me to struggle with fibromyalgia, spinal stenosis, hip and knee issues.  But I am continually reminded Who granted the blessings and promises.

Letting go humbles me by acknowledging God’s healing power and knowing that it is not me who heals myself, for I am poor, meek, and a sinner.  God loves me and drew me to Him.  He is my Healer.  He is All I need.  I can stand upright in Him no matter my physical, mental, emotional condition.  He heals my spiritual health and will heal all else in His will and in His timing.

No matter where I am on the rope, the healing touch or the wounding touch, I learn to bring praise and honor to my God.

 

twisted-rope-close-up


LORD, I am humbled no matter where I am on the rope.  I am humbled because You are You and You love me.  I ask for Your help that I would let go, living for You in all ways.  I want to be healed physically, desiring to be strong spiritually even more so.  I want to walk in Your will and desire You always by my side, Father.  I know You will hold me upright as You fill me with the fruit of Your righteousness through Your Son’s death on the Cross.  I love You more than all, Abba Father.  Amen.

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Photo “Hanging On”http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=107753&picture=hanging-on

Photo “Twisted Rope Up Close”http://www.photos-public-domain.com/2012/03/18/twisted-rope-close-up/

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Ears to Hear

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Guard your steps when you go to the house of God.  To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil.  Ecclesiastes 5:1

שָׁמַע

shama`

to hear intelligently (often with implication of attention, obedience, etc.; causatively, to tell, etc.):— attentively, call (gather) together, carefully, certainly, consent, consider, be content, declare, diligently, discern, give ear, (cause to, let, make to) hear(-ken, tell), indeed, listen, make (a) noise, (be) obedient, obey, perceive, (make a) proclaim(-ation), publish, regard, report, shew (forth), (make a) sound, surely, tell, understand, whosoever, witness.

How then will they call on Him in Whom they have not believed?  And how are they to believe in Him of Whom they have never heard?  And how are they to hear without someone preaching?  And how are they to preach unless they are sent?  As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”  But they have not all obeyed the gospel.  For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?”  So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.  Romans 10:14-17

ἀκοή

akoē

hearing (the act, the sense or the thing heard):—audience, ear, fame, which ye heard, hearing, preached, report, rumor

to perceive by hearing

he-who-has-ears

In both the Old and the New Testament, we find the words listen, hear, hearing again and again.  Our parents often told us to listen, to pay attention, or they asked us, “Did you hear me?”  They knew we did not always hear them because we were not listening.  Does that ring any bells?!!  It does for me, even though I was a pretty obedient kid.  I still was a kid.

Then I grew up and went my own ways.  God spoke to me often but I did not always listen to Him either.  When I disobeyed the Father, I often fell and then could not always get out of the rabbit holes I found myself in.

Prophets, throughout the Bible, spoke God’s Word, calling on His people to listen, to hear, to obey:

You shall say, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem. Thus says the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing such disaster upon this place that the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle.  Jeremiah 19:3

God gives us His Word to direct our paths:

Your Word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.  Psalm 119:105

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.  Psalm 130:5-6

And He humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD Deuteronomy 8:3

Jesus calls us to listen, to hear, to obey:

“Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.  Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.  He who has ears, let him hear.”  Matthew 13:7-9

The Son of Man will send His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace.  In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.  He who has ears, let him hear.  Matthew 13:41-43

I have ears.  I am to hear.  I am to pay attention. I am to be faithful in my obedience to the One Who calls me to Him.  His Word is where the Truth is…and only there.  The Word is Christ.

  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  John 1:1

I read this and wonder how and why I can possibly NOT listen, NOT hear, NOT obey.  He is the Word and the Word is All.

Look at these precious gifts afforded to us:

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truthJohn 1:14

“If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”   And He said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.  For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”  Mark 4:23-25

In Him you also, when you heard the Word of Truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, Who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.  Ephesians 1:13-14

And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.  1 Thessalonians 1:6-7

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for
“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.  1 Peter 1:22-25

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  John 8:31-32

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Oh, I praise You, LORD, for the love that You have for us, Your creations who do not deserve such love, yet are given it because of Who You are.  In Your bounty, we receive the gift of Your Holy Word filled with Your Truth.  Your Holy Son, in His death, gives us the opportunity to come to the foot of the Cross to receive forgiveness and salvation.  The Holy Spirit comes to live in us to teach us and pray as our mediator when we know not how to pray.  You, my Father, are the Giver of all gifts to Your children.  I am so grateful to be one of those blessed to be under Your wing.  I want to have ears to hear and know the Truth.  May I be obediently listening and willing to follow Your ways.  May I walk closely to You, my Abba Father.  Forgive me when my ears are closed or I am “too busy” with worldly things that I miss the message that is right before me.  Forgive me when I am disobedient to You even when I hear Your words.   Father, teach me Your ways that I may walk in faithfulness.  I pray in the Name of Jesus.  Amen. 

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photo of child:  https://michaelanthonygagliardi.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/faith-comes-by-hearing-the-word-of-god/

graphic: https://marthabailey.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/omaha-omaha-kill-kill/

Bible: unknown