In His Arms

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Psalm 146:5-10

 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,

whose hope is in the Lord his God,

6 Who made heaven and earth,

the sea, and all that is in them,

Who keeps faith forever;

Who executes justice for the oppressed,

Who gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets the prisoners free;

 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.

The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;

the Lord loves the righteous.

 The Lord watches over the sojourners;

He upholds the widow and the fatherless,

but the way of the wicked He brings to ruin.

10  The Lord will reign forever,

your God, O Zion, to all generations.

Praise the Lord!

The Lord is over all and the only One Who can supply all our needs, provide all the help that the world just cannot supply.  With so much going on in these days we are living in, I so wish that things would be better, that people would not be oppressed, hungry, killed.  I just want us to live in peace with everyone, with all nations.  But Jesus said:

And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet.  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.  Mark 13:7-8

…but while we live in these times, we are to remember Who is the only One Who saved us, can save us, and will come for us when the time is right.

Psalm 146:1-4

Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord, O my soul!

I will praise the Lord as long as I live;

I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

 Put not your trust in princes,

in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.

When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;

on that very day his plans perish. 

Father God, I lift my hands to You and feel Your strong arms reach to me, this child of Yours.  You hold me closely and I am secure in You.  Father, why is there so much that feels so terribly wrong in this world?  Why is there starvation?  war? murder of innocents? fear of what others may do? chaos? kidnappings? … this list does not end, Father.  Why?  I am sad, Abba Father.  Just too much that is wrong.  But there is only one answer and that is the fall of man; evil came to live with us.  Oh, Father, Your strong arms remind me that one day, Jesus will come for us who have placed our trust in the One Who is Salvation, Who is the Holy One, and will bring us into His home where there will be no more tears nor pain. 

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”  Revelation 21:4

Father, I want to stay close and feel the comfort of Your love as I am wrapped in Your arms.  I thank You for the very salvation that Jesus brought to us so that one day we will be free from all that is of this world.  I have always been sad that You felt that You were sorry You ever made man back in the early times.    

So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” (Genesis 6:7)

I sense You feel that way today.  But You know the times for they are in Your hands.  Walk with me through the remaining days of my life.  I crawl into Your arms, my Abba Father, one of your lambs.  I thank You and love You so.  In the Strong Name of Jesus.  Amen.

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picture:  https://i.vimeocdn.com/video/120444797_640.jpg

Empty, Purify, Fill Me, and Pour Me Out, LORD

As I seek Your face, Father, I want to be empty of me.  How can this happen, LORD?  Can I truly be empty?

But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.  Ephesians 4:20-24

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16

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I accepted Jesus Christ as my LORD and Savior, asking forgiveness for the sinful person I was.  The old Linda is gone and the new Linda lives.  I am empty, was emptied, yet need to empty again and again.  The sinful one keeps edging her way back in.  The love of Christ never leaves me though.  I am being emptied moment-to-moment.

In the emptiness, I need to be purified so that I may walk in purity through this world.  Only You, LORD, can purify me.

He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD Malachi 3:3

For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.  Hebrew 9:13-14

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.  2 Corinthians 7:1

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Father, as I am emptied and purified, I want to be filled with You, filled with Jesus, filled with Your Spirit, that I may walk in Your Light.

I am the LORD your God,
who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.  Psalm 81:10

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.  Romans 15:13

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.  John 14:16-17

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Yes, Your Holy Spirit dwells in me, Father.  I am so very thankful and love You with all of my heart.  Thank You for bringing me into Your family, for accepting me as I am, and molding me on Your potter’s wheel.  I am a vessel of Your making.

Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?  Romans 9:21

Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.  2 Timothy 2:21

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Pour me out, O LORD, into this world that I would do what You have called me to do and be the woman that You have made me to be.  Use me, LORD, as You will.  May I be empty for Your use, LORD.  Teach me Thy ways, my Father.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.  Titus 2:11-15

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.  Romans 7:25

Father, You made me and desire to use me.  I pray that You empty me of me, and that I am willing to be emptied.  I pray that You purify me so that I may walk in the cleanliness of Your Holiness.  I pray that You fill me with all that is You.  And then, Father, pour me out into this world in the ways that You have appointed for me, for my life.  In Jesus’ beautiful Name, Amen.

31 Day of God-Woven Moments – October 15

31 days PNG
They hatch adders’ eggs;
they weave the spider’s web;
he who eats their eggs dies,
and from one that is crushed a viper is hatched. 

Their webs will not serve as clothing;
men will not cover themselves with what they make.
Their works are works of iniquity,
and deeds of violence are in their hands.  Isaiah 59:5-6

 

How easily our walk can turn to the ways of the world.  We live in this fallen world and the pressures of all that is around us pulls us hither and yon.  The consequences are tough when we turn from God and walk the ways of this world.  The spider catches the fly.

The Spider and the Fly by Mary Howitt (1799-1888)

“Will you step into my parlor?” said the spider to the fly;
“’Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you did spy.
The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
And I have many pretty things to show when you are there.”
“O no, no,” said the little fly, “to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.”

“I’m sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high;
Will you rest upon my little bed?” said the spider to the fly.
“There are pretty curtains drawn around, the sheets are fine and thin,
And if you like to rest awhile, I’ll snugly tuck you in.”
“O no, no,” said the little fly, “for I’ve often heard it said,
They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed.”

Said the cunning spider to the fly, “Dear friend, what shall I do,
To prove the warm affection I’ve always felt for you?
I have within my pantry good store of all that’s nice;
I’m sure you’re very welcome; will you please to take a slice?”
“O no, no,” said the little fly, “kind sir, that cannot be;
I’ve heard what’s in your pantry, and I do not wish to see.”

“Sweet creature!” said the spider, “You’re witty and you’re wise!
How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes!
I have a little looking-glass upon my parlor shelf,
If you’ll step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself.”
“I thank you, gentle sir,” she said, “for what you’re pleased to say,
And bidding you good-morning now, I’ll call another day.”

The spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly fly would soon be back again:
So he wove a subtle web, in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready to dine upon the fly.
Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing
“Come hither, hither, pretty fly, with the pearl and silver wing:
Your robes are green and purple; there’s a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead.”

Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little fly,
Hearing his wily flattering words, came slowly flitting by.
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew
Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue;
Thinking only of her crested head — poor foolish thing! At last,
Up jumped the cunning spider, and fiercely held her fast.
He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den,
Within his little parlor; but she ne’er came out again!

And now, dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly, flattering words, I pray you ne’er give heed;
Unto an evil counselor close heart, and ear, and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale of the Spider and the Fly.

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How easily we each can be persuaded to come into this world’s parlor.  Let us look to Jesus, fixing our eyes upon Him.  Stay near to God for He is near to you.

Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.  Colossians 2:18-19

Father, I pray that Your lesson here is to look only to You for all and everything.  May I focus my gaze upon the One Who saved me from all that is of this earth.  May I remember the sacrifice You made for me, for many such as me.  For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.  (1 John 2:16)  Hold me fast to Your ways and guide my walk for I want to walk in obedience to You and only You.  I pray that I stand firm upon the Foundation of Jesus Christ in all I am and all I do.  In the Holy Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

 

To catch up on the previous days of this 31 day challenge, you can find them listed here.

“Adder:”  venomous snakes of the Viperdae family

Photo of spider and web: public domain image

Palah – פָּלָה – Wondrous Love

Psalm 17_7

פָּלָה

palah

The Hebrew word, palah, means to be distinct or marked out, to be made separate or set apart, to be distinguished.

A few other verses that use palah with one of the above words:

But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself;
the LORD hears when I call to him.  Psalm 4:3

“For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?”  Exodus 33:16

‘But not a dog shall growl against any of the people of Israel, either man or beast, that you may know that the LORD makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.’  Exodus 11:7

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Palah is worded: to show wondrously, to show wonder, show wonders, to show marvelously, to show…in wonderful ways:

“You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you.  And my people shall never again be put to shame.”  Joel 2:26

God thunders wondrously with his voice;
he does great things that we cannot comprehend.  Job 37:5

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God’s love is like no other love.  It is distinct, unique, a wondrous love which only God can give.  It is full and rich and complete in itself.  He loves because that is Who He is.  He loves those who trust in Him and seek refuge in Him.

Matthew Henry comments about this word, palah, in his Commentary on Psalm 17:  “It is the character of God’s people that they trust in him; he is pleased to make them confidants, for his secret is with the righteous; and they make him their trust, for to him they commit themselves. Those that trust in God have many enemies, many that rise up against them and seek their ruin; but they have one friend that is able to deal with them all, and, if he be for them, no matter who is against them.”

I have One friend in Whom I can trust.   I also know that He can handle all that confounds or confronts me.   God hears and is near.  His wondrous love is great and all I need.  He is Love.


May we hum one or both of these hymns for the rest of this day! ~

Amazing Love by Chris Tomlin

I’m forgiven because You were forsaken,
I’m accepted, You were condemned.
I am alive and well, Your spirit is within me,
Because You died and rose again.
(Repeat x2)

(Chorus)
Amazing love,
How can it be
That You, my King, should die for me?
Amazing love,
I know it’s true.
It’s my joy to honor You,
In all I do, I honor You.

I’m forgiven because You were forsaken,
I’m accepted, You were condemned.
I am alive and well, Your spirit is within me,
Because You died and rose again.

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What Wondrous Love Is This

(a Christian Folk Hymn from 1811)

1.
What wondrous love is this,
O my soul! O my soul!
What wondrous love is this!
O my soul!
What wondrous love is this!
That caused the Lord of bliss!
To send this precious peace,
To my soul, to my soul!
To send this precious peace
To my soul!
(5 more verses-see reference below)

Father, I may not always do right by You, yet my heart desires to see Your wondrous ways in all areas of my earthly life.  Open my spiritual eyes and ears that I may see and hear You and know Your marvelous love that is meant for me and know Your ways that I would walk in Your way for me.  You have loved me since before I was born of my mother.  You  wove me in her womb.  You brought me forth to the special people I have called my parents.  Thank You for them each and both.  I loved them while they lived on this earth and still do as they sit with You in Heaven.  Hold me near for tomorrow would have been Mama’s 100th birthday.  She almost made it there, but You had a more wondrous life for her with You.  How glad I am to know she is there.  She loved me and still loves me for You gave her love from which to love others.   I love You, dear Father.  I pray in the Name of Your Son.  Amen.  

photo/graphic:  http://www.growbarefoot.com

Words to Amazing Love by Chris Tomlin: http://www.songlyrics.com/chris-tomlin/amazing-love-lyrics/

Words to “What Wondrous Love Is This”:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What_Wondrous_Love_Is_This

Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

Blessed are the poor in spirit.  Matthew 5:3

As I ponder this beatitude this morning, I find my self, my being, somewhat emptied of certain needs or desires.  Well, not completely, of course, for I am human and sit here typing on a computer to even write this.  I have not given up all things of this world, mind you.  I still have a house and food on the table, clothing, a computer, Netflix subscription and much more.  But I am emptying of what has been a main purpose, that of giving care to my mother for fifteen years for she is with the LORD.  I still have purpose as I continue to be a wife, the best I can, for my husband.  I have purpose here for I like to journal my spiritual walk.  But I have holes.

As I ponder this verse in Matthew, I am emptying more and more for I want to be close to my LORD.  Close, VERY!  Some of my so-called purposes in life are just hole-fillers.  They really are not a God-called purpose.  They appear before me and I think I need them.  It is the “me” that calls for certain purposes in life, certain things.  BUT…this “me” needs to be a clean vessel for Christ, for His grace and mercy.

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From Thomas Watson’s (1620-1686) The Beatitudes,  “The glass is first emptied before you pour in wine.  God first empties the man of himself, before he pours in the precious wine of his grace.  Till we are poor in spirit, Christ is never precious.  Before we see our own wants, we never see Christ’s worth.  When a man sees himself almost wounded to death, how precious will the balm of Christ’s blood be to him!  When he sees himself deep in arrears with God, and is so far from paying the debt that he cannot sum up the debt, how glad would he be of a surety!  ‘The pearl of price’ is only precious to the poor in spirit.  He that wants bread and is ready to starve, will have it whatever it cost.  He will lay his garment to pledge; bread he must have or he is undone.  So to him that is poor in spirit, that sees his want of Christ, how precious is a Saviour!  Christ is Christ and grace is grace to him!  He will do anything for the bread of life. Therefore will God have the soul thus qualified, to raise the price of his market, to enhance the value and estimate of the Lord Jesus.”

Poverty of spirit makes Christ sweet to the soul.

John Calvin (1509-1564) spoke of the poor in spirit: “They who see nothing in themselves, but fly to mercy for sanctuary”.

Paul came to know that he was not the center of the earth, that life was not all about Saul, but that Christ was his life and lifeline.  …and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,…  Philippians 3:9

As Jesus spoke to a group in parables, He spoke about those who held some people in contempt or felt themselves righteous in themselves.  But then Jesus compared them with this tax collector:  “But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’  I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”  Luke 18:13-14

From Thomas Watson’s writing in The Beatitudes:  There are four things may persuade Christians to be poor in spirit.

1 This poverty is your riches.  You may have the world’s riches, and yet be poor.  You cannot have this poverty without being made rich.  Poverty of spirit entitles you to all Christ’s riches.

2 This poverty is your nobility.  God looks upon you as persons of honour.  He that is vile in his own eyes is precious in God’s eyes.  The way to rise is to fall.  God esteems the valley highest.

3 Poverty of spirit sweetly quiets the soul. When a man is brought off from himself to rest on Christ, what a blessed calm is in the heart!  I am poor but ‘my God shall supply all my need’ (Philippians 4:19).  I am unworthy but Christ is worthy.  I am indigent, Christ is infinite.  ‘Lead me to the rock that is higher than I’ (Psalm 61:2).   A man is safe upon a rock.  When the soul goes out of itself and centres upon the rock, Christ, now it is firmly settled upon its basis.  This is the way to comfort.  You will be wounded in spirit till you come to be poor in spirit.

4 Poverty of spirit paves a causeway for blessedness.  ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit.’  Are you poor in spirit?  You are blessed persons.  Happy for you that ever you were born!  If you ask, Wherein does this blessedness appear? read the next words, ‘Theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven’.

Father, I am not empty.  I want to be.  I want to be a vessel for Your honor, sanctified, set apart for You, and useful to You, my Master.  LORD, guide my steps that I would empty for You rather than fill this earthen vessel myself.  My spirit lives with You in this vessel for You have come to live in me.  I am Yours.  I am Your beloved and Your child.  May I be as clay and be molded as You will, not as I will, LORD.

Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”  Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor.  Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.  2 Timothy 2:19-21

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Photo/Art:  Man by LOSWL:  License  AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by loswl

Chosen Vessel art:  http://chosenvessel26.wordpress.com/

Set Apart

Set Apart

פָּלָה

palah

to be distinct, marked out, be separated, be distinguished, to be wonderful, to make separate, to set apart

Although it is March, I have reasons for this late start on choosing a word to walk into and by for this year.  But those reasons are not important because with God, there is no time that matters when it comes to following Him as long as I am doing just that.  So here I am, LORD.  Please, take me as I am and lead me along the path of Your will for my life.  Amen.

My word(s) for pondering, for desiring to live by in 2013, and for always, are “set apart”.  God sets us apart when we come to know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, set apart  from the world to live and to love as He lived and loved.   “O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”  John 17:25-26  Jesus prayed this for me.

We are called “….to step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away.” (Henry David Thoreau)  There is a distinction, a separation from the world that I am called to be, that beat of the different drummer.  I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.”  John 17:14-19

john17_17He calls us to be holy as He is holy…because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” (1 Peter 1:16, Leviticus 11:44,45)  The word holy, קָדַשׁ , qadash, in Hebrew, meansto consecrate, sanctify, prepare, dedicate, be hallowed, be sanctified, be separate,” even tabooed.  To be so different from this world in which we live, I am called.

But know that the LORD has set apart the godly man for Himself; The LORD hears when I call to Him.  Psalm 4:3

I am not to conform to the worldly standards set before me in my daily life.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.  Romans 12:2

WOW!  This is not easy to even realize, let alone live every day, every moment.  And I must know that I won’t.  I will fail, but I want to do my best to live the life to which I have been called as a Christ follower.

I have been sanctified, set apart, raised with Christ in His Resurrection as a new woman, and am to always look upward, fix my eyes on Jesus.  Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Colossians 3:1

There is much to ponder here, much to live.  I am to pick up my cross daily if I am to remain “set apart” for God.  ‘Tis a HUGE assignment, but I want to be set apart for the One True God. And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”  Luke 9:23

LORD, I need You to guide me, direct my paths every moment of every day.  I desire to be obedient to You and only You.  Be my Light, Lord.  Be my Light.  Amen.

A Sabbath Moment

Hebrew Shabbat (שַׁבָּת), “to cease”
Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow
Psalm 51:7
purify..
cleanse..
redeem..
wash..
purge..
refine..

consecrate..
sanctify..

set apart..

me
LORD God Almighty, I pray this psalm … that I be made whiter than snow.  With each new dawning, will You refine me just that much more, just a little bit beyond the day before?  LORD, I want to be cleansed and sanctified, made holy and pleasing for You.  Amen.