For Who is God?

“For Who is God, but the LORD?
And Who is a rock, except our God?”
2 Samuel 22:32

He is my God, and He Alone is my everything. Trusting in Him is the way I must turn, the way I want to turn, although I am not always faithful to do so. I do want to turn to Him alone. And, oh, when I try to go things alone I get lost, confused, independent, defeated, and scorned sometimes. But my heart’s desire is to find my God and know Him as He is. I want to seek His Name(s) and know He is my everything in all of my situations, in all of my ways, in all of my deeds. I want to praise Him for He is God. He is my God.

Worthy to be praised! Hallelujah! and Amen!

David wrote this psalm, recorded in 2 Samuel 22. Matthew Henry, from his Commentary on 2 Samuel 22 with: “This chapter is a psalm, a psalm of praise; we find it afterwards inserted among David’s psalms (Psalm 18) with some little variation. We have it here as it was first composed for his own closet and his own harp; but there we have it as it was afterwards delivered to the chief musician for the service of the church, a second edition with some amendments; for, though it was calculated primarily for David’s case, yet it might indifferently serve the devotion of others, in giving thanks for their deliverances; or it was intended that his people should thus join with him in his thanksgivings, because, being a public person, his deliverances were to be accounted public blessings and called for public acknowledgments.

David, in his closet, his cave, most likely near the battlefield, writes these beautiful and strong words. How blessed we are to be able to praise God using these words as they pertain to our lives in the ways God means them to be used in our very lives. We have enemies whether on earth or in the air. We have troubles and mis-steps in our lives. We need to focus on the One Who rescues us, holds us, provides for us, takes the burdens from us.

And David spoke to the LORD the words of this song on the day when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. 2 Samuel 22:1

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who addressed the words of this song to the LORD on the day when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said:
I love you, O LORD, my strength.
Psalm 18:1

He said, “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 and my refuge,
my savior; you save me from violence.
2 Samuel 22:2-3

And later in 2 Samuel, David praised the Lord again with similar words:

“The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock,
and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation
,… 2 Samuel 22:47

This God—his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
2 Samuel 22:31

This God is my strong refuge
and has made my way blameless.
2 Samuel 22:33

Psalm 18 has these beautiful descriptions of David’s God, our God:

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

“In my distress I called upon the LORD;
to my God I called.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry came to his ears.
2 Samuel 22:7

In my distress I called upon the LORD;
to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.
Psalm 18:6

I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.
2 Samuel 22:4

I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.
18:3

He brought me out into a broad place;
he rescued me, because he delighted in me.
2 Samuel 2:20

He brought me out into a broad place;
he rescued me, because he delighted in me.
Psalm 18:19

For you are my lamp, O LORD,
and my God lightens my darkness.
2 Samuel 22:29

For it is you who light my lamp;
the LORD my God lightens my darkness.
Psalm 18:28

This God—his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
2 Samuel 22:31

This God—his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him
. Psalm 18:30

“The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock,
and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation,…
” 2 Samuel 22:47

The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock,
and exalted be the God of my salvation—
Psalm 18:46

From “Treasury of David” on Psalm 18 by C. H. Spurgeon:

“We have another form of this Psalm, with significant variations (2 Samuel 22), and this suggests the idea that it was sung by David at different times when he reviewed his own remarkable history, and observed the gracious hand of God in it all. Like Addison’s hymn beginning, “When all thy mercies, O my God,” this Psalm is the song of a grateful heart overwhelmed with a retrospect of the manifold and marvellous mercies of God. We will call it THE GRATEFUL RETROSPECT. The title deserves attention. David, although at this time a king, calls himself, “the servant of Jehovah,” but makes no mention of his royalty; hence we gather that he counted it a higher honour to be the Lord’s servant than to be Judah’s king. Right wisely did he judge. Being possessed of poetic genius, he served the Lord by composing this Psalm for the use of the Lord’s house; and it is no mean work to conduct or to improve that delightful part of divine worship, the singing of the Lord’s praises. Would that more musical and poetical ability were consecrated, and that our chief musicians were fit to be trusted with devout and spiritual psalmody. It should be observed that the words of this song were not composed with the view of gratifying the taste of men, but were spoken unto Jehovah. It were well if we had a more single eye to the honour of the Lord in our singing, and in all other hallowed exercises. That praise is little worth which is not directed solely and heartily to the Lord. David might well be thus direct in his gratitude, for he owed all to his God, and in the day of his deliverance he had none to thank but the Lord, whose right hand had preserved him. We too should feel that to God and God alone we owe the greatest debt of honour and thanksgiving.

If it be remembered that the second (third) and the forty-ninth (fiftieth) verses are both quoted in the New Testament (Hebrews 2:13/2 Samuel 22:3; Romans 15:9/2 Samuel 22:50) as the words of the Lord Jesus, it will be clear that a greater than David is here. Reader, you will not need our aid in this respect; if you know Jesus you will readily find him in his sorrows, deliverance, and triumphs all through this wonderful psalm.

“For this I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations,
and sing praises to your name. Great salvation he brings to his king,
and shows steadfast love to his anointed,
to David and his offspring forever.”
2 Samuel 22:50-51

For this I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations,
and sing to your name. Great salvation he brings to his king,
and shows steadfast love to his anointed,
to David and his offspring forever
. Psalm 18:49-50

Just this very day, Sunday, July 25, 2021, Pastor Danny preached from Mark 4:35-41, “Who Then Is This?” As I planned to finish up this post later today, I was drawn to Mark 4:41 –

And they were filled with great fear (awe/reverence) and said to one another, “Who then is This, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” Mark 4:41

Who then is This? … For Who is God? … God truly had powerful lessons for me this week through His Word.

Oh, that I would spend more time in It. Guide me, O Lord.

We sang this song in church…”Behold Our God twice this morning…during the music portion in the beginning of church and then as our final song. I have been singing it throughout the afternoon…praising my Lord.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-tgGHZNQJw

The Bellevue Baptist Church (Cordova & Memphis, TN) choir/church is one of my favorite recordings of it. As I sang it from home this morning, I lifted my hands in praise and belted it out as though I have a fine voice. Only between God and me…(and Bonnie Girl, the cat), God knows the voice He created in me and He loves it when I worship and praise Him!

I delight in You, O Lord, and bow at Your feet. Blessed be the Lord for You are my Strength, my Refuge, my Rock and my Sword. Your Word is Truth and Power for and to me. Your beauty is magnificent. Your peace is the quiet in the storm, the rain on the roof, the shade of purple in a Lavender plant. Your Light is bright, a Lamp forever for all to see. I pray that I may be a light in this dark world. Your gentleness and kindness flow from the sweet words of friends, their acceptance of who I am as Your creation for, somehow, they see me through Your eyes. The Glory of the Lord is that which I sing from the mountaintops and from the valleys. You are my All in all. Hallelujah to my God on High. You are my King, my Salvation, my Love, my Husband, my Savior and my Lord. I thank you for giving me the ability to praise You, sweet and precious Lord. Thank You for raining Your mercy upon me, for opening my eyes and ears to Your saving grace. You are my God. You reign in my heart, in my life. Hallelujah! Behold, You are my God. I pray all in Your Son’s Holy Name. Amen.

2 Samuel 22:32 photo/graphic @ Daily Verses

Commentary on 2 Samuel by Matthew Henry

2 Samuel 22:2-3 photo/graphic @ Daily Bible Inspirations

2 Samuel 22:4 photo/graphic @ Rachel Wojo

Psalm 18:19 photo/graphic @ Daily-Bible-Verse

2 Samuel 22:31 photo/graphic @ GodFruits.com

Psalm 18:46 photo/graphic @ knowing-jesus

Treasury of David on Psalm 18 by C. H. Spurgeon

Psalm 18:49-50 photo/graphic @ Heartlight.org

“Behold Our God” by Songwriter(s): Jonathan Baird, Meghan Baird, Ryan Baird, Stephen Altrogge, CCLI: #5937510; Sovereign Grace Music; Youtube from Bellevue Baptist Church

THE Cross, THE Resurrection, and Me

…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Phil 3:10-11

ἀνάστασις

anastasis

1.a raising up, rising (e. g. from a seat)
2.a rising from the dead 
a. that of Christ b. that of all men at the end of the present age c. the resurrection of certain in ancient Jewish story who were restored to life before burial

What do these have to do with me? EVERYTHING!!

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:3-8

I am born again…as of July 17, 1993. I was born once of my parents, of water. I was born a second time by the Spirit of God. No, I did not know how that happened but it did because God sent His Spirit to me when I was seeking Him, when I was asking about Him and knocking on the door for Him. I nailed my sins to the cross with Jesus. Yes, I will live as a human being until God takes me Home, whenever that may be. I am growing in the Lord every day, I pray (I am being sanctified). I want to shine His light into this dark world through the Holy Spirit living within me. I want to walk in obedience to Christ. I read the Word of God and get to know my Creator, my Refuge, my Shepherd, my Redeemer, my Savior and Lord. The cross is where I kneeled before Him, asking for forgiveness for all my guilty sins. He forgave me, and calls me His own. I see the empty grave and know that He is with His Father in Heaven. He has risen from the grave. He is resurrected. One day, because I am His, I, too, will be resurrected to live in Heaven with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I am forever grateful.

I am forever connected to the Cross and the Resurrection!!

Easter is today. For me, these past couple of years, I have called this day Resurrection Sunday instead of Easter Sunday. My church uses that word as the name of what I have always called Easter. It has not only become a new name for this Sunday, but it is what Jesus did for me, for you, upon the Cross. It is what Jesus did from the grave…He rose alive. These Truths have taken on a far deeper meaning for me with each passing year. Jesus rose from the grave three days after His death on the Cross, never to die again.

THE CROSS

Friday, we celebrated Good Friday. Jesus died on that Friday over 2,000 years ago. It was a horrific death nailed, hands and feet, to a cross. It was a way of execution, capital punishment. “Crucifixion was most frequently used to punish political or religious agitators, pirates, slaves, or those who had no civil rights. In 519 BCE Darius I, king of Persia, crucified 3,000 political opponents in Babylon; in 88 BCE Alexander Jannaeus, the Judaean king and high priest, crucified 800 Pharisaic opponents; and about 32 CE Pontius Pilate had Jesus of Nazareth put to death by crucifixion.” *

So this form of death had been around and used for a long time: “Crucifixion, an important method of capital punishment particularly among the Persians, Seleucids, Carthaginians, and Romans from about the 6th century BCE to the 4th century CE. Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor, abolished it in the Roman Empire in the early 4th century CE out of veneration for Jesus Christ, the most famous victim of crucifixion.” *

So why do we call crucifixion Friday “good?” It is an awful way of death. Humiliation was a large part of crucifixions: the person was naked, flogged/scourged to the point of severe bleeding; yelling and screaming at the victim took place as well. There was usually a procession to the place of crucifixion (in Roman times, it was led by the Roman Guard, headed by a centurion). This brutal method of capital punishment was a very public “ceremony” in order to place fear in others, to deter criminals from breaking Roman laws.

“For Christians, Good Friday is a crucial day of the year because it celebrates what we believe to be the most pivotal day in the history of the world. On Good Friday, Jesus willingly suffered and died by crucifixion as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. … It’s called Good Friday because, by Jesus’ death, he became the final, complete sacrifice for our sins. We couldn’t have erased our sins. Our hands would have been forever stained with every single sin for a lifetime. But Jesus broke the bonds of death and sin!” **

If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. 1 John 1:10

Jesus bore the Cross for me, for you, that we would receive mercy and grace for our sins. We can choose to seek His face, asking for forgiveness of those sins. We can choose to acknowledge Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior for He saved us from eternal damnation in hell with the evil one, satan. By dying in our place on that Cross, a place where we should have hung, He died once for us each and all. By choosing Jesus, we also agree, wholeheartedly, that He arose from the dead to live again and forever. He returned to His rightful place at the right side of His Father, our Father God, to live forever in Heaven. We choose Him and we choose life…Eternal life with Jesus in the heavenly places. Oh, I pray this is your choice.

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. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:3-9

THE RESURRECTION

Charles H. Spurgeon preached many a sermon on the resurrection of the Christ. This is from one of those:

Once more–the resurrection of Christ is operating at this present time with a quickening power on all who hear the Word aright. The sun is, to the vegetable world, a great source of growth. In this month of April he goes forth with life in his beams and we see the result. The buds are bursting, the trees are putting on their summer dress, the flowers are smiling and even the seeds which we buried in the earth are beginning to feel the vivifying warmth. They see not the lord of day but they feel his smile. Over what an enormous territory is the returning sun continually operating! How potent are his forces when he crosses the line and lengthens the day!

Such is the risen Christ. In the grave He was like the sun in His winter solstice but He crossed the line in His resurrection. He has brought us all the hopes of Spring and is bringing us the joys of Summer. He is quickening many at this hour and will yet quicken myriads. This is the power with which the missionary goes forth to sow. This is the power in which the preacher at home continues to scatter the seed. The risen Christ is the great Producer of harvests. By the power of His resurrection men are raised from their death in sin to eternal life.***

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, Who is coming into the world.” John 11:25-27

I rejoice in the resurrection of You, my Christ. You died on my behalf and You live this very day with God, our Father. I will, one day, be with You. Yes, Lord, I will have trials and will suffer, but nothing compared to the suffering that You endured for me…on that cross and in the grave. But You rose from death and, now, will live for always. I will die one day on earth, but You will raise me up to be with You forever and ever. If You return before I die, I will then live forever with You. Whether in Heaven with You or on earth alive, I desire to worship, praise, honor, glorify, and love You. I desire to shine Your light of salvation and be a harbor of Your love wherever I am. I love You so much. I am truly blessed to be one of your sheep. In Your Holy and Resurrected Name, I pray. Amen.

The Empty Cross @ pursuingprayer.blog

Philippians 3:10-11 graphic/photo @ BibleStudyTools.com

*from Encyclopedia Britannica.com on “Crucifixion”

**from Crosswalk – “Good Friday”

Knowing Jesus – What Does Philippians 3:10 Mean? @ Knowing-Jesus.com

*** from THE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION by C.H. Spurgeon (1834-1893)

“That I May Know Him” graphic @ Perfecting of the Saints

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.”

Veiled in Flesh


Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
hail th’ incarnate Deity,
pleased as man with man to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King!”
**

As we sang “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing,” tears welled up in my eyes.

Christ Jesus “veiled” a fleshly robe, becoming man and dwelt among us. I got a beautiful picture draped across my heart and eyes of Jesus being veiled in flesh. This is incredible even though I know He came and I know He was a man for thirty-three years, God for always. I believe this, having come to know Christ as my Savior and Lord. I have faith in this One Who left the Father to dwell with us. Yet, the thought of the Christ being veiled with flesh dropped me to my knees. It was so much more than the Baby in a manger. Christ came to save one such as I. Christ came to draw me to Him. Christ came to be with me. Thus my tears.

Emmanuel (Immanuel) is God with us. Jesus is Yahweh saves or the Lord is salvation.

“She will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call His name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
Matthew 1:21-23

The Prophet Isaiah: Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14

So beautiful! ‘Tis no wonder that I cry. God came to save me. He rained His grace and mercy upon me forever and ever long before I was ever born, created in my mother’s womb.

For 26 + years now, He has been reigning in my heart. He lived on earth, veiled in flesh, so that I may truly live. Hallelujah, what a Savior!

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 truth. John 1:14

Christ came, veiled in flesh, but He died in that same flesh, torn and bruised, bleeding and broken, for this same me.

Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking him as they beat him. Luke 22:63

As many were astonished at You—
His appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
and His form beyond that of the children of mankind—
Isaiah 52:14

According to Josephus, cruxifixction was brutal, an awful way to die. Christ died this way. He did this for me, for you, for each of us. I am sorry, Jesus. Forgiven, I am but I still weep for what I did to You.

Had He not adorned flesh, could or would it have been different?

The plan was in its perfect place and robing Yourself in flesh was what was needed to save us from this sin. Thank You, Lord Jesus. Thank You for Who You are and for what You did. May this life I live adorn You with glory and honor and praise. I love You, my Lord Jesus. In Your Name, I pray. Amen.

Credits:

First photo: Tess Cooling Calligraphy @ https://cooligraphy.co.uk/portfolio/hark-herald-angels-sing/

** Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!

  • Original lyrics by Charles Wesley (1707 – 1788).
  • Published 1739 in the collection Hymns and Sacred Poems.
  • The lyrics was changed by George Whitefield (1714 – 1770) and others, resulting in the version known today.
  • Original first line: “Hark how all the Welkin rings”.
  • Music by Felix Mendelssohn (1809 – 1847).
  • Mendelssohn’s tune was adapted by William H. Cummings (1831 – 1915) in 1855 to fit the lyrics.

Last photo: Faith Church Blog/Lafayette

Sing unto the Lord this whole beautiful song: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing:

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King,
peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
join the triumph of the skies;
with th’ angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King!”

Christ, by highest heaven adored;
Christ, the everlasting Lord;
late in time behold him come,
offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
hail th’ incarnate Deity,
pleased as man with man to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King!”

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
born that man no more may die,
born to raise the sons of earth,
born to give us second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King!”

Come, Desire of nations, come,
fix in us thy humble home;
rise, the woman’s conquering Seed,
bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface;
stamp thine image in its place.
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in thy love.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King!”

Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Make Ready

touchbible-verse-image-net-luke-1-17_5

“… and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”  Luke 1:17 ESV

Many versions read:

“… so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” NASB

“… to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”  NKJV, NIV

… placing “the Lord” at the end.

 

But many other translations read:

“… to make ready for the Lord a prepared people.”  CSB, DBY

“… to make ready for the Lord, a people prepared.”  YLT

 

Whichever way the Bible reads, I have been looking closely at the two phrases in this small portion of Luke 1:17.

“…, to make ready …” 

ἑτοιμάζω

hetoimazō

STRONGS NT 2090

to prepare:—prepare, provide, make ready (G2090 refers to internal fitness)

 

“… prepared.”

κατασκευάζω

kataskeuazō

STRONGS NT 2680

to prepare thoroughly (properly, by external equipment; whereas G2090 refers rather to internal fitness); by implication, to construct, create:—build, make, ordain, prepare

 

to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”  Luke 1:17 ESV

In reading this verse, my first thought was that both “make ready” and “prepare” meant the same thing and they do in a general sense.  Where the divide comes is when the definitions distinguish between external and internal preparedness.

The external layer of a person is prepared:

John the Baptist was sent by God to turn hearts to see their sins, be grieved over them, come to repentance and be baptized in preparation for the coming of Jesus.  Each one to repent can be prepared through this process of repentance.  We will be convicted and cleansed.  Through this conviction and repentance, we are being prepared.

Then, the internal person must be made ready to meet the Lord:

Because of the initial preparation, our hearts and minds are open and welcoming towards the Lord Jesus.  Our souls will find joy and comfort as we hear the gospel even as we are challenged and confronted by the Truth.  We are being transformed in the process and come to know His grace and are able to receive His mercy.  As we walk in obedience to His Word and His will we are being made ready for His coming.

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I recall so clearly the moment when I repented of my sins.  I grieved over the many times I hurt God by my actions and words.  I was being prepared for I wanted to be right with Jesus.  I asked Him to be my Lord and Savior.  From that very moment, I knew that things changed inside of me.  I received a grace that I had never known.  I was washed clean and then washed clean again… hundreds or thousands of times since.  Each time, I have grown deeper in my walk with Jesus.  I was made ready in my admission of my sinful ways.  I was then able to accept my salvation in Christ by faith.  I am continually made ready as I read God’s Word, as I pray, as I learn to walk closely to my Savior.

M. Henry says in his Commentary, We must be prepared by grace in this world for the glory in the other, by the terrors of the law for the comforts of the gospel, by the spirit of bondage for the Spirit of adoption.

The bud is made ready to become a blossom from the inside-out.  The blossom is prepared to glorify the Lord with its outward beauty.

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Am I ever done being made ready while here on earth?  I have met my Savior by faith.  One day, when I meet Him in the clouds, will I no longer need to made ready?  I believe not!  Christ is so beautiful to me now.  I desire that He would be all I need while here on earth, but I must admit that things of this world do draw me in.  I wish that were not true, but it is.  As I age, I can say that things of this world are less and less important and I do have more peace.  I pray that He will be all I need or want on the other side.  Hallelujah!!!

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Heavenly Father, I thank You again, knowing that when I called out asking for Your forgiveness for the many ways in which I wandered aimlessly, sinfully, and disrespectfully towards You, Your immediate forgiveness of me rained peace upon this woman.  I am so grateful, Father.  I became prepared.  As I began to understand You and Your Son and the Holy Spirit, I was made ready to receive Your Son as my Lord and Savior.  The Holy Spirit has come to dwell in me and continues to grow me in Your Word, in grace, and in love.  I am just overwhelmed by Your love and hope and peace…gifts only You can give me.  Oh my!  I am filled with a welling up inside of me.  You are my All in all.  Your Son is precious to me and I pray in His Holy Name.  Amen. 

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Graphic of Luke 1:16-17https://www.touchbible.net/image-browser/?version=1&book=42&chapter=1&verse=17

Spotty Flowers: https://dryicons.com/vector/spotty-flowers

Photo of apricot blossoms: http://www.photos-public-domain.com/2012/05/08/white-apricot-blossoms-and-red-flower-buds/

From Burden to Praise

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Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to Me.  If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.”  This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

 “Say to the daughter of Zion,

‘Behold, your king is coming to you,

humble, and mounted on a donkey,

on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’” **

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them.  They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and He sat on them.  Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  And the crowds that went before Him and that followed Him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest!”  And when He entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?”  And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”  Matthew 21:1-11

Jesus knew His time was near.  He knew the Scriptures filled with prophecies about Him.  He knew.

A beast of burden is a draught (draft) animal that carries or pulls heavy loads, such as a donkey, mule, llama, camel, or ox.  It can also be any domesticated animal trained to perform tasks for humans, such as a herding dog or a trained falcon.  Often, the animal will be under a yoke, teamed up with one or more of the same kinds of animals.

Jesus came into Jerusalem on a donkey, as per the prophecy in Isaiah 62:11.  The donkey, the beast of burden, carried the One Who would be carrying our burden of sin to the Cross.  Jesus came that we might be saved.  Jesus came that we be made white as snow, cleansed of our sins, for the Father.  

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”  Isaiah 1:18

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Jesus calls us to follow Him and bear our crosses.  Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.  Luke 14:27

Yet He is there by our side to carry the load with us.  “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”   Matthew 11:29-30

Cast your burden on the LORD,
and He will sustain you;
He will never permit
the righteous to be moved.  Psalm 55:22

He wants our dependence, our submission, our obedience.

All God’s plans have the mark of the cross on them, and all His plans have death to self in them.E. M Bounds

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We, as Christians, are called to help one another as He helps us.  Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  Galatians 6:2

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As we approach Palm Sunday, may our hearts turn to the One Who came to this earth to save us from ourselves.  May we look to the One Who carried our sins to the Cross, cleansed us wholly, that we could be His.

“It is to the Cross that the Christian is challenged to follow his Master: no path of redemption can make a detour around it.”― Hans Urs von Balthasar, Unless You Become Like This Child

I have received the most beautiful gift, Father, for which I am ever so grateful.  May I never look upon a “burden” as being too much for me.  May I see Jesus yoked with me in all that I am called to do and to be.  May I remember Who the Holy One is Who used a beast of burden to ride into Jerusalem, but became the One Who carried all of the burdens to the Cross where He died a terrible crucifixion, yet He did this for me.  I praise You, LORD.  Hosanna, in the Highest.  Hosanna, oh save, I pray.  “Praise God and his Messiah, we are saved.” Hallelujah.  I rejoice in the Holy One.  You are my salvation, LORD Jesus.  You knew and you know, LORD Jesus.  You know me, Jesus.  Praise Your Holy Name.  In the Glorious Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.  

 

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** Isaiah 62:11

Christmas Coming…

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Christmas coming Oh! to breathe the air of God as He comes to us as a child, as Immanuel, as the breath of Heaven, as the Way, the Truth, the Life.  

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

The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.  John 1:9

Oh, to be sensitive and anticipating Christmas coming!

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Mary heard and knew Christmas coming:

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David.  And the virgin’s name was Mary. …”  Luke 1:26-27

And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”  Luke 1:31-33


And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born
 
will be called holy—the Son of God.”   Luke 1:35

Mary honored Christmas coming:
And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.  Luke 1:38

Joseph became aware of and honored his vows for Christmas coming:

… an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”   Matthew 1:20b-21

When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called His name Jesus.  Matthew 1:24-25

Elizabeth felt Christmas coming:

And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!  Luke 1:41-42

John recognized Christmas coming…from the womb:

…the baby leaped in her womb.  Luke 1:41

Zacharias prophesied Christmas coming: 

“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare His ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to His people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”  Luke 1:76-79

The shepherds saw, heard, and believed Christmas coming:

And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”  Luke 2:9-12

The angels rejoiced for Christmas coming:

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!”  Luke 2:13

Simeon awaited Christmas coming:

And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.  Luke 2:26

“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen Your Salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to Your people Israel.”  Luke 2:29-32

And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”  Luke 2:34-35

Anna, the prophetess waited, was sensitive to, and then praised Christmas coming:

And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of Him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.  Luke 2:38

The wise men saw Christmas coming:

“For we saw His star when it rose and have come to worship Him.”  Matthew 2:2b

Prophets prophesied Christmas coming:

Micah – But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.  Micah 5:2

Ezekiel – And I will set up over them one Shepherd, My servant David, and He shall feed them: He shall feed them and be their Shepherd.  Ezekiel 34:23

HoseaLet us know; let us press on to know the Lord; His going out is sure as the dawn; He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”  Hosea 6:3

Isaiah – Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel.  Isaiah 7:14

Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nation, the servant of rulers: “Kings shall see and arise; princes, and they shall prostrate themselves; because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”  Isaiah 49:7

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

Christmas coming:

  • in a manger over 2000 years ago
  • in Salvation
  • in Grace
  • in Truth
  • in the Word
  • in a cloud 
  • in my heart each day
  • in the praises of His people
I see Christmas coming.  Christmas comes in the Christ, directly to my heart as my LORD and Savior.  He comes in the quiet of prayer.  He comes in the darkness as the bright and shining Light.  He comes in love and joy.  He comes as the Word.  He comes in a song.  He comes every day, every moment of every day.  Some I miss.  Yet He comes and waits.  I wait with anticipation and adoration.  I feel Christmas coming from the inside-out.  Truly remarkable moments!

Thank You, Heavenly Father, for blessing us with Your One and Only Son.  Thank You for opening the eyes of my heart to truly see Christmas coming.  May I be sensitive to Christ coming, the Holy Spirit within me forever teaching me, praying for me, loving me.  May we each take the time to ponder the Truth of Christmas.  May we each treasure the beauty of Your gift to us.  The Son of Righteousness has come to us, to me.  He is the absolute expression of Your Love to us.  He is our King.  He is our Shepherd.  He is our LORD.  He is the innocence of the Babe in the manger.  He is Birth in me, Rebirth in me.  He is Forgiveness.  He is Love.  He is Salvation.  I thank You, Father, for Your Son… for Christmas Coming.  Amen and Amen.  Selah…
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Simeon Waiting

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Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.        Luke 2:25

παράκλησις

paraklēsis

consolation

  • a calling near, summons, (esp. for help)

  • importation, supplication, entreaty

  • exhortation, admonition, encouragement

  • consolation, comfort, solace; that which affords comfort or refreshment [thus of the Messianic salvation (so the Rabbis call the Messiah the consoler, the comforter)]

  • persuasive discourse, stirring address [instructive, admonitory, conciliatory, powerful hortatory discourse]

Simeon was waiting for the Consoler, the Messiah.  The Holy Spirit was upon him.

Oh, Father, I praise You for giving this man the testament of Your Holy Spirit.  He knew Your will for his life and waited.  Waited!  He knew the gift that You were giving to this world in Your Son.  He let the Holy Spirit lead him into the temple at that very moment.  He knew.  He waited.  Hallelujah!


And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not
see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.  And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the Law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now You are letting Your servant Greek bondservant
depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation that You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to Your people Israel.” 
Luke 2:26-32

Simeon prayed.  Simeon was so attuned to God that he believed that God was delivering His Messiah as promised to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.  He knew.  He believed.  He had read the Word and knew God’s promises.

Simeon called Jesus “Your salvation.”  He is.

The Lord has bared His holy arm

before the eyes of all the nations,

and all the ends of the earth shall see

the salvation of our God.  Isaiah 52:10

Simeon called Jesus “a light for revelation.”  He is.

He says, “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also make You a light of the nations
So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”  Isaiah 49:6

Simeon said Jesus was “for glory to Your people Israel.”  He is (although not very many have seen Him…yet).

“In the LORD all the offspring of Israel
shall be justified and shall glory.”  Isaiah 45:25

 The sun shall be no more
your light by day,
nor for brightness shall the moon
give you light;
but the LORD will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory.  Isaiah 60:19

Father, I praise You.  You have shown us Simeon in Your Word.  He loved You and spent his days in prayer, seeking Your face.  He came face-to-face with You, by Your Son, Christ Jesus, the Messiah, the Consoler.  He knew that this Child was You.  He knew because He walked with You and fed upon Your Word, upon You.  Oh, LORD, I am so filled with gratitude that You showed me this about Simeon this week.  May I seek Your face each and every day.  May my walk be as You design it, and not in my way.  May light shine upon me from the Sun of Righteousness, revealing Your Truth in and through me.  I thank You, Abba Father, for the most beautiful Gift possible, Your Consolation to me.  You have reminded me that I am to continue to be ‘expectant’ for You to show up in my life at any time, at all times.  In His Name, I pray.  Amen.

 “‘…and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”  Luke 3:6

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Painting–Simeon’s Song of Praise by Aert de Gelder, 1700-1710/Public Domain:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nunc_dimittis#/media/File:Aert_de_Gelder_-_Het_loflied_van_Simeon.jpg

Betwixt and Between

Betwixt and Between:

a midway position :  neither one thing nor the other

Thanksgiving is over.

Christmas is soon.

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A large Thanksgiving meal–prepared and eaten.  Giving thanks for the many blessings we have had throughout the year–a reminder that all throughout the year is time to be grateful.

Yes, yes, I’ll get back to that after Christmas.

When the meal is done and all have gone home, many pull out the decorations and begin to prepare for Christmas.  There are about four weeks to plan, shop, write and send cards, possibly travel, prepare another meal.  It feels hectic. It can be.

Wait…this season is beautiful.  It is filled with reminders: the coming birth of Jesus Christ, Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem in preparation for the census, a manger will hold the newborn Babe, a star directs shepherds to the Christ Child, the Holy One.

We should be aware and watching for the Star of Bethlehem, be traveling with Mary and Joseph, be there at the manger.

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Why are we rushing to and fro in search of something material when the true Gift is coming right into our hearts?  Why are we so busy with things that are ‘expected’ yet may not be ‘necessary?’  Why are we not still, awaiting for the Savior to come?  Why are we not looking up?

I know, I know.  Christmas is when we gather and give.  Gift-giving may be to children and others.  There may be expressions of love.  Family and friends who have been apart for a long time may come together for the holiday.  I am not saying that this is all wrong.  But we need to slow down and look up.  We need to remember Who Christmas is about and what He means to us.  He came to save us from our sins, from ourselves.  He came to lay His life down for us…for me.  

     For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.  Luke 2:11-14

Father in Heaven, forgive us for being so wrapped up by the world and all of the things of it.  Forgive us for forgetting Who You sent into this world for our salvation.  Forgive us for thinking that we understand what this beautiful Christmas season is all about when we often barely give Jesus a thought in the hustle and bustle of Christmas.  Father, I pray for the many who are so caught in the stuff of Christmas.  I pray that they will not miss another Christmas of You, of Jesus.  I pray that they will see all that they have been missing for far too many years.  I pray that the eyes and ears of our hearts be opened to the coming of Your Son, Your One and Only Gift.  May we stand before the manger in awe this Christmas and know that Your Love has come to us, come for us.  May we be still and quiet so we will know the Spirit of Christmas.  May our hearts be calm to hear Your Voice.  I pray that we will see Your perfect Gift.   May praises come forth from our lips and hearts; may our songs be filled with thanksgiving.  Father, I pray that we will not be standing betwixt nor between, but would stand strong with You and beside You.  I so pray this in the Name of Jesus.  Amen.     

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Unsearchable

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

ἀνεξεραύνητος

anexeraunētos

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

ἀνεξιχνίαστος

anexichniastos

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

that cannot be comprehended

past finding out

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, the depth of the riches

both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God!

How unsearchable His judgments

and untraceable His ways!  HCSB

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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