…as a mere breath! (republished from Sanctified Together)

REPUBLISHED ARTICLE FROM SANCTIFIED TOGETHER ONLINE MAGAZINE — LIFE AS A VAPOR  edition

…as a mere breath!

Fog that forms in valleys and lowlands is known as radiation or ground fog and may leave the valleys fogged in all day, while the tops of the hills are clear. It often occurs on clear nights when a layer of cool, moist air is covered by a layer of drier air. The ground cools rapidly, since little of the heat radiating from its surface is absorbed by the moist air. As the ground cools, so does the air above it, which becomes saturated, allowing fog to form. The cold, heavy air that collects in valley bottoms makes them especially susceptible to fogs in late fall and winter.

 “O Lord, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!
Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath!”
–   Psalm 39:4-5 (ESV)
Pondering, I find I am fearful that I am nothing but a vapor. That I do not count. That no one notices me. That I am not making a difference in this world. Yet, it is the world that yells loudly in my ears to be, to do, to follow the crowd, to eat this or that, to act or look in certain ways; and these messages go on and on.
“What is your life?  For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14b ESV).

What is my life?  My life is a vapor, a mist, a breath. This is all the more reason to be all that God has created me to be and to do. For today I could breathe my last and utter my final word. My thoughts remind me of the victory I have with every breath according to God’s Word. I rejoice!

Seventeen years ago, I was given a new life from the Lord. As I spend time with Him, He guides me and teaches me. His Love permeates my heart. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19 ESV). His Light radiates from my face as I become more like Him.

“And we all, with unveiled faces, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV).

He allows me to focus on His world through His eyes. I know that each breath of mine is His.  I cherish the moments with Him – seeing through His eyes and listening through His ears. I trust Him to walk with me through the brightly lit fields of spring flowers and through the harsh realities of nursing home life. We walk together and . . .

  • By His grace, I care for my 96 year old mother, loving her no matter where her mind is or isn’t today, massaging her feet with peppermint lotion, keeping flowers, fruit, and favorites in her room, reminiscing, reminding.
  • By His tenderness and compassion, I am able to love elderly nursing home residents with kind words, a touch, a smile, a drink of fresh water.
  • By His joy, I just love several children whose mothers work as nurses’ aides at the nursing home. I read, hug, and talk with them. Through His eyes, I watch these precious, well-behaved young ones spend hours in this place waiting for their mothers, touching the hearts of elderly ones in their innocent, wholesome, unconditional ways. I am amazed and know it is by His Power.
  • By His tender mercies, I take my seventy-eight year old Alzheimer-ridden brother-in-law for a ride so my husband and his visiting sister can have an hour alone.

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”  ” And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me'”(Matthew 25:35-36, 40 ESV).

The beauty of reflecting Christ enlarges my life. But slowing down so as not to miss an opportunity does not come easily in today’s hectic pace; yet with each breath, I will try. This is my life…one breath. Let not my last breath come because my light has yet to shine and my love has yet to love. I pray that I may be used up for my LORD.

“I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have being.”
–    Psalm 104:33 (ESV)

linda sig

THE ENTIRE MAGAZINE EDITION IS @ http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs012/1102811929004/archive/1103239394001.html

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Peace, Perfect Peace (republished from Sanctified Together)

GUEST POST | REPUBLISH @ BEING WOVEN

November 2010 Online Magazine “Sanctified Together” Edition “Peace”

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In this world, perfect peace is just not attainable although moments of peace may glide in and out of our days and evenings. For me, I may experience one of those rare moments when I can sit, listening and watching the migrating birds resting in our trees, or when I can read a wonderful book and become so involved that I am unaware of the world around me. Just this very morning as I drove across the causeway, stretching out over Nueces Bay, a flock of hundreds of white pelicans silently glided through the air to find their winter home in Oso Bay or other nearby bays here in South Texas. Their beauty, their movement, and their silence gave me an inkling of sweet peace while I watched and even later recalled the sight. Yet, this peace lasts for just a little while before an interruption occurs–traffic, a noise, the bridge.

Perfect peace, while not touchable today, is attainable through our LORD, Jesus Christ. He is the Prince of Peace, the Giver of the true and beautiful peace. He is that perfect peace.


On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”  When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.   Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”   And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”  John 20:19-22 ESV

Through the Blood of the Cross, our LORD has given us peace. He showed His hands and His side to the disciples, to us, to say that He has gone through this for you, for us. You are forgiven. Jesus says you may have peace as you believe Him, His death, and His resurrection. How can the death of Jesus Christ bring peace?  It does through forgiveness and is the only event where true and perfect peace lies.


For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. Colossians 1:19-20 ESV

As I ponder “peace,” I quiet my mind, sit still before my God, and ask, “What does ‘peace’ mean?” The dictionary has words to describe “peace” :

·    freedom from disturbance
·    quiet and tranquility
·    mental calm; serenity
·    freedom from or the cessation of war or violence

Yes, these describe “peace” as I know it intellectually. Yet, I want to know “peace” spiritually. LORD, please show me Your Peace. Jesus Christ stands before me without words. He is Peace. He is Perfect Peace.How can I have it, my LORD? 


You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.  Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD God is an everlasting rock. Isaiah 26:3-4 ESV

His Word tells me to trust and keep my mind upon Him. So when I want to do something my way, or in the world’s way, when I am disobedient, when I dwell upon myself, my struggles, everyone else’s struggles, I am not trusting; I am not keeping my mind set upon the LORD. I am doing things Linda’s way.

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

How often do we live in the way of this world?  How often do we linger on troubles and trials, rolling them over and over again in our minds? Then they find their way to our hearts and settle there for a period. Ridding ourselves of these dwelt upon concerns is a call for prayer and for dependence upon God. But He tells us in the phrase, “I have overcome the world,” that His Blood shed for us at Calvary is enough. His Love for us is enough. He has overcome the world. Through His grace we can dwell with Him–He with us. He overcame the world that the world cannot dwell in us. He is here in our hearts. He occupies the whole space. And the Word tells me that “in Me you may have peace.” IN HIM … I MAY HAVE PEACE.


I need to have a right relationship with Him. I need to trust Him. I need to believe. I believe IN Him and what He did at the Cross. And I need to BELIEVE HIM. He tells me the Truth. He speaks to me and answers me. He dwells in my heart. And I need to dwell ever-so-closely with my King. Through this beautiful relationship, I can live in quiet contentment. I can know that His Presence in me creates a quiet confidence no matter what my circumstances, what people are doing in my life, or around me, or even far off in another corner of this world.  There is a sense of wholeness, a spring of well-being that permeates through me.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.  John 14:27 ESV

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:7  KJV

LORD, we pray for heart-understanding of Your peace, the filling of the Holy Spirit Who gives us rest in You. You are Peace. You are Rest. May Your Blood flow through our veins and reign in our hearts as we learn to trust, depend, and love You wholly and solidly. LORD, may we know You as the Prince of Peace here on earth, that we would be able to experience Your rest now, and be ready for Your perfect peace on that beautiful day. Amen.

For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Isaiah 55:12 ESV

I join in singing and praising! Hallelujah!


~ Linda Gill
THIS MAGAZINE IS NO LONGER ONLINE.  BUT THE ARCHIVES ARE HERE:  http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs012/1102811929004/archive/1103705870424.html

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Wanted…Dead or Alive (@ Sanctified Together)

Life Lessons

November, 2011, Sanctified Together Publication.

I have the privilege, once again, to be a contributing writer.

257

When I think of “life’s lessons,” I wish to pull up great, easy lessons that would have taught me so very much, were a breeze, and gave me fresh life, revival of my spirit. They could have been lessons that grew me into such a fine and perfect Christian woman, made me a better person, helped me become more obedient, compassionate, gracious. But, there really are no easy lessons and there are no paths to earthly perfection. In reality, life’s lessons start off, in most cases, as hard, unwanted, and overwhelming to a person needing to die to self. Hands fly upward, covering my head. Tears well up. I cower beneath feelings of failure, fear, resistance, ready to run, even before attempting to learn what God even wants me to learn.

Of course, these lessons, wanted or unwanted, are from God Who knows just what I need. He knows I need to grow in 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, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, 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,….” (Ephesians 1:17-20a ESV)

He knows I want to grow in the knowledge of Him. “…be diligent to be found by Him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:14b-18 ESV) He knows I want to grow in His grace.

I am to stay focused on the One Who is Lord of my life. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV) I must not run nor hide. I must stand still with eyes and ears open. How can I learn if the eyes of my heart cannot see Him, or the ears of my heart are closed to His Words? He wants me to know that He is beside me and will not leave me. We will walk this path together. Hard lessons or easy lessons, the intent is to draw me closer to my Creator. He wants to teach me His Truth. He assures me that He is molding me into a Christian woman of His making. He prays over me, loving me deeply. Calling upon His Name in darkness or in light, coming to His throne in boldness, depending upon my Counselor are steps I must take in learning His lessons, these life lessons, wanted or not.

When I look back on the lessons of my life, the only ones I can recall are those I stood and faced. If I did an about-face and ran, I have absolutely no recollection of the lesson God intended for me to learn. When I was firm in my stance, desiring to honor the One Who loves me so much that He taught me Himself, I grew in Christ, became closer to Him, more able to be His student in life from there on out. I climbed hard mountains standing on the pathway upward, knowing He was with me. We continued to the top where God’s Glory shone all about. I knew I had succeeded in learning. Sometimes, my lessons seem repetitive….”Haven’t I been here before?” He teaches what I can handle today. As I become ready for a similar lesson, only deeper, harder, we continue on that upward spiral.

The sweetest gifts about facing life’s unwanted (and wanted) lessons are that I get to walk with Jesus, I grow deeper in my Christian walk, and joy exudes from me for I am becoming a woman of Christ. That dead self becomes alive to Christ, a new creation. “Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:18b-21 ESV)

 Blessed are you, O LORD;

teach me your statutes!

With my lips I declare

all the rules of your mouth.

In the way of your testimonies I delight

as much as in all riches.

I will meditate on your precepts

and fix my eyes on your ways.

I will delight in your statutes;

I will not forget your word.

(Psalm 119:12-16 ESV)

May you be blessed as you read lessons of faith from the hearts of many.   Of course, these lessons, wanted or unwanted, are from God Who knows just what I (we) need. 

The whole November, 2011 magazine is here.

linda sig

 

 

 

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Crown of Glory (republished from Sanctified Together)

I have the privilege of writing this article for “Sanctified Together”.  This month’s topic for all of the articles and poetry is “The Measure of a Woman”.  


Crown of Glory

 

Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.”  – Proverbs 16:31 ESV

gray hair
Just what is the measure of a woman who has grown to an old age? When the joints hurt doing simple household chores? When she feels unable to help herself or those she cares about?  What if she lives in a total care facility — even has to wear a diaper?  Or when Dementia or Alzheimer’s or a stroke or heart attack has taken the mind or abilities away?  From a physical standpoint, old age seems immeasurable.

The world measures by physical beauty — slender figure, wholesome complexion, youthful hair color and agility. When so much of that worldly beauty changes, what is there to measure? Gray hairs, wrinkles, poor eyesight, hearing loss, protruding belly, mental slowness?  The world’s yardstick is tough on her.  The moral and spiritual character often is torn asunder.  Yet, God measures differently.

Creator God made His children in His Image.  Can one allow the world to be the judge?  God is Judge — He sets the standard.  No other.  Beginning to end, He sustains, carries, and promises.

“Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; 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 46:3-4 ESV

“LORD, make me to know my end, And what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am.”  – Psalm 39:4 NKJV

We are all called to grow in wisdom, in character, in faithfulness, in holiness, in love.  As a woman grows older, God continues His call for her to mature more fully. The body is decaying.  One day, she will return to dust.  Yet the heart of God living within her never grows old, never decays.  How glorious! We are learning from experiences, adding to our knowledge bank, adjusting judgments, acting with soundness and obedience, following His call to be holy as He is holy. Loving unconditionally are marks of our growing maturity.

“So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.”  – Psalm 90:12 NKJV

“Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am the LORD your God.” – Leviticus 20:7 NKJV

The beauty of a woman is not merely her outward appearance.  Her true beauty shines from her heart, especially as she ages, having gained spiritual wisdom.  The quiet, gentle, meek spirit is not a fearful spirit, nor subdued or shy.  It is a mild disposition that trusts in God’s goodness and His control over life’s situations.  By wholly relying upon Him, He grows and purifies those who follow.

“Your adornment must not be merely external-braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.”  – 1 Peter 3:3-4 NASB

God has set His child apart, sanctifying her.  She is to protect her mind (that place of understanding, feeling, and desire) by caring about what enters in and what exits out.  She is to keep her thoughts pure.  She is to raise up her children well, be respectful and submissive to her husband, be prayerful, hospitable, a servant to the least, be sober, and obedient.  She is to lean completely and set her hope solely upon the LORD rather than the world.  God will guide and strengthen her as she walks the path to holiness.

“You shall consecrate yourselves therefore and be holy, for I am the LORD your God.”  -Leviticus 20:7 NASB

God measures in His own way as He is the Only Ruler.  He is looking for much.  He expects much.  He loves much.  God uses godly women to exemplify His character. Sarah knew her duty as a wife, honoring and revering Abraham, following him submissively to a land they knew not.  As a woman, she certainly made her share of mistakes, yet God honored her. Anna, of an elderly age, was cared for by God in the temple. She served her God by praying and fasting, praising and thanking Him.  God blessed her with the ability to see beyond human walls; thus, Anna knew the Messiah when He entered the temple as an infant.  Holiness shines through these women who sought God.

“For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.”  – 1 Peter 3:5-6 NASB

“And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers.  At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.”  – Luke 2:36-38 NASB

The measure of a woman is the crown of glory she wears because of the life she leads—the life of righteousness, doing that which is right, wholesome, and holy.  The beauty of her heart is by the grace of God.  The Holy Spirit grows the inner person, magnifying the character of God.  She wears a quiet, gentle spirit, a temper easily controlled, with a lack of pride, a becoming behavior towards all, even toward herself. She is lovely from the inside-out with a strength born of God.  A woman’s worth is measured in godly increments.

 

“May we walk in Your holiness, LORD, in Your mercy and love.  We pray that our adornment be Your grace and Your virtue. May the world we touch be able to see You in us, beyond the earrings, the makeup, and the clothing. It is the holiness, devotion, honor, reverence to You that needs to be seen and measured. May our crown be gracefully worn in our graying years because we have known You, grown in You during our youth and mid years. May we be thankful for each gray hair, LORD, and may we be precious in Your sight, worthy of Your love.  Amen.”

The whole magazine, “Sanctified Together”, can be found @
http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs012/1102811929004/archive/1103497928854.html


If you would rather download and/or print the publication this is the link:  http://freepdfhosting.com/51e39e6ef5.pdf


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