Pure Silence

He was oppressed, and He was afflicted,
yet He opened not His mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so He opened not His mouth.
Isaiah 53:7

פָּתַח

pāṯaḥ

to open wide (literally or figuratively); specifically, to loosen, begin, plough, carve

אָלַם

‘ālam

to tie fast; hence (of the mouth) to be tongue-tied:—bind, be dumb, put to silence.

Two words in this verse that look the same in English yet their meanings differ because of the use, as a part of the word, of a small three-letter word…”not.” It is used after “opened” in the first part, yet not a part of the definition, whereas the second “opened” included “not,” as if it is a whole word. The NLT version of the verse may help to see this a bit more clearly:

He was oppressed and treated harshly,
yet He never said a word.
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter.
And as a sheep is silent before the shearers,
He did not open His mouth.
NLT

Sheep are often described as dumb, but as one who has written a series on sheep in this blog, the “dumb” is their silence, a muted voice. They are a patient and meek animal. They need their shepherd to do most of what they need: guided to the green pastures, led to water, sheared, picked up should they fall, led back to the flock should they get lost. They do not do these necessary feats by themselves. It is just the way of sheep. As “the flock” of Jesus, we need this guidance as well, don’t we? But we are not “dumb,” not stupid. We just get lost too. The “dumb” as used here is mute, unable or unwilling to utter a sound.

C. H. Spurgeon preached: “Though the emblem is very gracious, it is by no means novel, for our Lord had been long before Isaiah’s day typified in the lamb of the Passover. To call Him, “The Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world,” is a very frequent mode of explaining to us how He made expiation for our transgressions and indeed even in His glory He is the Lamb in the midst of the throne before whom angels and the redeemed are bowing. I delight to bring before your minds the singular communion between yourselves and Jesus—you “like sheep” and He “as a sheep”—you like sheep in your wanderings, He like a sheep in His patience. You more like sheep—I mean myself and you—more like sheep for foolishness, but He only like a sheep for the sweet submissiveness of His Spirit, so that beneath the shearer’s hand, “He opens not His mouth.” ….

Now the hand of the LORD had been upon me the evening before the fugitive came; and He had opened my mouth by the time the man came to me in the morning, so my mouth was opened, and I was no longer mute. Ezekiel 33:22

I am mute; I do not open my mouth,
for it is you who have done it.
Psalm 39:9

But I am like a deaf man; I do not hear,
like a mute man who does not open his mouth
. Psalm 38:13

He stands there willing to suffer, to be spit upon, to be shamefully treated and to die, for in Him there was a complete surrender. There was no reserve about His body, soul, or spirit. He was wholly given up to do the Father’s will and work out our redemption. There was a complete self-conquest, too. In Him no faculty arose to plead for liberty and ask to be exempted from the general strain. No limb of the body, no portion of the mind, no faculty of the spirit started, but all submitted. A whole Christ giving up His whole being unto God that He might perfectly offer Himself without spot for our redemption.” * C. H. Spurgeon

Our reaction when accused is usually to lash out, react with some sort of voice and/or action. Could I be still? Could my voice be silent facing accusations? Facing my death? Facing even the Truth? They asked, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” (Luke 23:37) and “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” (Luke 23:39) I know what my immediate response would be, but Christ is silent.

Throughout the time when Jesus was being questioned, being accused, being killed, He was silent.

But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God, tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God.” Matthew 26:63

But when He was accused by the chief priests and elders, He gave no answer. Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” But He gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed. Matthew 27:12-14

So he questioned Him at some length, but He made no answer. Luke 23:9

He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. John 19:9

But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed. Mark 15:5

I am amazed as well.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (from Isaiah): He conducted himself under his sufferings so as to make it appear that he did not suffer as an evil-doer; for, though he was oppressed and afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth (v. 7), no, not so much as to plead his own innocency, but freely offered himself to suffer and die for us, and objected nothing against it. This takes away the scandal of the cross, that he voluntarily submitted to it, for great and holy ends. By his wisdom he could have evaded the sentence, and by his power have resisted the execution; but thus it was written, and thus it behoved him to suffer. This commandment he received from his Father, and therefore he was led as a lamb to the slaughter, without any difficulty or reluctance (he is the Lamb of God); and as a sheep is dumb before the shearers, nay, before the butchers, so he opened not his mouth, which denotes not only his exemplary patience under affliction (Ps. 39:9), and his meekness under reproach (Ps. 38:13), but his cheerful compliance with his Father’s will. Not my will, but thine be done. Lo, I come. By this will we are sanctified, his making his own soul, his own life, an offering for our sin.

For me, for my sin! God is so merciful and so graceful. Thank You, LORD. I so appreciate You and love You for saving me from myself.

When He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but continued entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly. 1 Peter 2:23

Jesus trusted His Father. Jesus “entrusted” Himself to His Father. Let the Word of God speak for itself:

“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
Psalm 46:10

“But the LORD is in His holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” (Habakkuk 2:20)

“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Matthew 5:11

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Romans 12:19 (Deuteronomy 32:35)

Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 1 Peter 3:9

Father, I thank You for sending Your precious Son to save me, to save us all that we would come to You and know Your mercy and saving grace. I pray that His silence will continue to speak volumes into the hearts of men, women, children as they hear about Jesus’ sacrifice on that awful Cross. As we near Resurrection Sunday, may this silence still our hearts to truly draw closer to the One Who came to take our sins, nailing them to that Cross where He was also nailed, and where He died once for all, carrying our loud, obnoxious sinful voices with Him while He remained quiet. Oh, Lord, I am so sorry. I am also so grateful to You for carrying me with You, giving me a new birth, a new life. I love You, Jesus. In the silence, God raised You from the dead and shows me that I will die once too and then willI walk with You into eternity. Hallelujah! Oh, how I love You…”Oh, how He loves you; Oh, how he loves me; Oh, how he loves you and me.” ** As I hum these words, Lord, I hear Your silence yet I feel Your love. Praising You with all my heart. In Your Holy and beautifully silent Name, I pray. Amen.

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him. Hebrews 9:27-28

Photograph: Resting Lamb by H. Zell – own work: CC BY-SA 3.0;/ WikiMedia File: Lamb – Animal Park Muggensturm 01.jpg; Created: 17 February 2019; Scripture added by me on Pixlr

*BY C. H. SPURGEON, THE SHEEP BEFORE THE SHEARERS, Sermon No. 1543, A SERMON
DELIVERED ON LORD’S-DAY EVENING, JUNE 20, 1880,  AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (from Isaiah)

Photo of Sunset: by Cindy Lever from Pixabay

** song: “Oh, How He Loves You and Me”. Copyright: 1975 Word Music, LLC (a div. of Word Music Group, Inc.)

According to Your Word

And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  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 1:30-33

So much happens in these four verses:

 An angel

He speaks to Mary

She has found favor

and with God, no less

She will conceive a son

The angel gives her the name to call this boy

He will be great

He will have the throne of David

He will reign over the house of Jacob

There will be no end to His kingdom

He tells her about her coming son, words that any mother would be proud to hear, but would wonder if all of these things could be true.

Beautiful and amazing is this young woman who is to be the Christ’s mother, innocent and gentle in her spirit. She had questioned the angel, and then graciously accepts those deep and powerful words by responding thusly:

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

As I wait in this Advent time, I ponder the magnificence of this proclamation.  Would I be able to understand and accept these words had they been spoken to me?  Could I grasp the future that these words speak?  An angel naming my baby?  Me, a young and vulnerable woman, having a baby of God’s, not of man?  How could this be?  To me, if I were Mary…I don’t know.  I just don’t know. Yet, when Mary went to visit and stay with Elizabeth, there was immediate confirmation by and through Elizabeth:

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! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” Luke 1:41-45

I do understand something though.  God can do anything for He created everything. He is Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Omnipotent.  The angel says in Luke 1, verse 37: “…For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Could I?  Would I?  Oh, God, grant me a heart that so beautifully wraps around Your Truth; accepts the words of Your messengers; opens myself to Your will.  Would I? Could I?  I pray so, my LORD.  I pray so.  I pray with my whole heart and every ounce of my being. I pray with my heart’s ears and eyes open to You, to You alone.  Thank You for giving us the most wonderful gift of all. O LORD, in Your Son’s Holy Name, the Son of the Most High, I pray.  Amen

Photo by David Hewitt from FreeImages. (with added graphics)

Photo by Deborah Krusemark from FreeImages (with added graphics)

Orange rose photo – https://pixabay.com/users/alexas_fotos-686414/ (with added graphics)

“Trees Covered With Snow” by Pixabay on Pexels (with added graphics)

Photo from http://ziongwinner.blogspot.com/2016/12/why-was-jesus-born-part-1.html (with added graphics)

Words, Words, Words

Oh, how I struggle for words…words to speak my opinion yet would be surrounded by God’s Truth…all in one sentence! Words to share my experience but anger might be added at the way another is treating someone. Words to pummel yet knowing that God would not desire that from me. Words to encourage yet touched by spite. In my mind, I feel like I am on a roller coaster shouting words at the top both praiseworthy and unworthy. And when at the bottom, words to undermine yet filled with words of gentleness. What can I say without compromise? What can I say without speaking both truth and deceit in the same sentence? All of this is in response to others short Facebook or Twitter posts regarding things of this world.

“OF THIS WORLD” is the relevant phrase!

So I am silent.

Until I can speak words of the Holy Spirit and He Alone, I must be silent, for I do not want to fall into things of this world.

I do not ask that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one. John 17:15

Deliver me, O LORD,
from lying lips,
from a deceitful tongue.
Psalm 120:2

Sometimes, I want to take someone by the shoulders and shake them until sense is upon them. But who am I to know sense from non-sense? Who am I to tell someone else anything unless…

UNLESS… it is the Word of God, the Truth of Jesus, the Kingdom to come. That is the Truth.

In Christ Alone. So unless I am sharing the Gospel, am encouraging one with the Gospel Truth, am praying for another, am loving another in Christ, silence needs to be my game. Silence must be my story.

Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.
Psalm 139:4

Teach me Your Ways, My LORD.

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;… Ecclesiastes 3:7b

See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elementary principles of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8

So if the topic is politics, behaviors/actions, spoken words, beliefs, masks/no masks, etc., that first desire to respond is usually NOT going to come out right. It is like squeezing that toothpaste out of the tube into the letters that spell “WORD.” The words have oozed or flown out to say something that I may regret. And I cannot put that toothpaste back into the tube! It is too late. I do not want regret sitting on my shoulders.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Proverbs 18:21

Forgive me, LORD, for my foolish words. Forgive me when I denigrate You, the One Who has saved me from this world. Why do I so easily fall back into it? Why, oh why? Thank You, Father, for Your love and forgiveness.

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 3:17-18

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise;
when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
Proverbs 17:28

From Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Proverbs 17: This is generally taken for such a sure indication of wisdom that a fool may gain the reputation of being a wise man if he have but wit enough to hold his tongue, to hear, and see, and say little. If a fool hold his peace, men of candour will think him wise, because nothing appears to the contrary, and because it will be thought that he is making observations on what others say, and gaining experience, and is consulting with himself what he shall say, that he may speak pertinently. See how easy it is to gain men’s good opinion and to impose upon them. But when a fool holds his peace God knows his heart, and the folly that is bound up there; thoughts are words to him, and therefore he cannot be deceived in his judgment of men.

And because of Him you are in Christ Jesus, Who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:30-31

May I know my times and my places, lifting my voice to praise the LORD.

Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what He has done for my soul. I cried to Him with my mouth,
and high praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened. But truly God has listened;
He has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God,
because He has not rejected my prayer
or removed His steadfast love from me!” (Psalm 66:16-20). Thank You, my precious LORD. I praise You for holding my tongue, for guiding my steps, for teaching me Your ways, for loving me even when I fail You. In the Holy and Powerful Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

“Words” graphic: Oyster English

Photo – Ecclesiastes 3:1,7: BibleInMobile

Toothpaste: https://s234.photobucket.com/user/tammy_61/media/toothpaste.jpg.html

Photo – Pray1 @ https://recruiterpoet.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/pray1.jpg

The Word of God

God’s Word is powerful.  It is Truth.  It is Jesus.

Jesus is the Word.  He is Truth and He is Life.  He gives me life by His sacrifice, by His Blood shed for me. I kneel before Him, seeking forgiveness and redemption.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.  In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.  John 1:1-4

He is my life-giving bread and water.  From Him, I will never hunger nor thirst. He is Life.

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’”  Matthew 4:4  (CAPS from Deuteronomy 8:3)

“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38

Jesus came to live among men.  They saw the power of the Word.  When Jesus spoke, they felt the passion of the Word.  Jesus spoke and the waters calmed, the lepers healed, the dead arose.  He was and is the Living Word.

“Never compare this Book with other books. Comparisons are dangerous. Never think or say that this Book contains the Word of God. It is the Word of God.  It is supernatural in origin, eternal in duration, inexpressible in value, infinite in scope, regenerative in power, infallible in authority, universal in application, inspired in totality.  Read it through. Write it down. Pray it in. Work it out. And then pass it on.” —Smith Wigglesworth (8 June 1859 – 12 March 1947)

The Word is not just biblical history but is living and active this very day.

For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12

Nancy Guthrie writes, “The Word of God offers us power and perspective.  Its truth brings comfort, not confusion.  It is substantial, not merely sentimental.  It is true, not trite.”

The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is Thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. Psalm 19:8-11

The Word cleanses us by His blood, His sacrifice. Once paid…and for all.

But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7

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

LORD, I come to You this day, seeking Your Way, Your Truth, Your nourishment, YOur love. May I seek Your Truth and find it. I pray that I may discern truth from deceit. May I see and hear Your Truth with clarity. May I speak in honesty and with forbearance. May my words be Yours. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
(Psalm 19:14) I love You so. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

photo: The Word of God @ Moody Media

graphic: “God’s Word is…” by Smith Wigglesworth @ Craig T. Owens

Nancy Guthrie, author of “Book of Hope”, quote from page 353

photo with Scripture: photo from Arduino Tronic; text added on fotor.com by me

photo of Portland Lighthouse: free @ Pixabay

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.”

No Words Fell

Matthew Henry: Samuel did not now rise and run as before when he thought Eli called, but lay still and listened. The more sedate and composed our spirits are the better prepared they are for divine discoveries. Let all tumultuous thoughts and passions be kept under, and every thing be quiet and serene in the soul, and then we are fit to hear from God. All must be silent when He speaks.

And Eli said, “What was it that He told you? Do not hide it from me. May God do so to you and more also if you hide anything from me of all that He told you.” So Samuel told him everything and hid nothing from him. And he said, “It is the LORD. Let Him do what seems good to Him.” 1 Samuel 3:17-18

And Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the LORD. 1 Samuel 3:19-20

God LET … NONE of Samuel’s words fall to the ground.  God gave Samuel the words to use for His people.  He kept them airborne that they would be heard. Have you ever heard echoing in the mountains, tried it yourself? That is what this reminds me of. None…not one of his words…fell to the ground and went unheard.  They reverberated in the minds and hearts of those who heard. God used His servant.  God was with Samuel. God continued to establish Samuel as he learned to lean into the Lord.

Then the LORD appeared again in Shiloh.  For the LORD revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD.  1 Samuel 3:21

God allows some to hear Him. He allows some to sense Him, knowing His will for their lives. He allows understanding of His spoken words, His written words through the Word of God. Prayer. Meditation. His incredible creation. He allows depth of Who God is by so many means. Seek Him often. Walk in obedience that we each may hear Him in whatever manner He comes to us.

Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer,
Who formed you from the womb:
“I am the LORD, Who made all things,
Who alone stretched out the heavens,
Who spread out the earth by Myself,
... Who confirms the word of His servant
and fulfills the counsel of His messengers,

Who says of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be inhabited,’
and of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be built,
and I will raise up their ruins’;…
Isaiah 44:24, 26

LORD, may I have ears to hear Your Word through Your Holy Spirit.  May I honor and glorify You by being obedient to Your will in all that You have and desire for me.  May I be a servant You are pleased with.  I love You, LORD. 

C. H. Spurgeon on 1 Samuel 3: God, in a renewed manner, speaks to us by his Word when his Spirit applies it to us individually. We never truly hear the voice of God in Scripture until the truth is spoken home to each heart and conscience by the Holy Ghost. Revelation must be revealed to each one; other wise it soon comes to be a veiling of truth, rather than a discovering of the Lord’s mind. The revelation is clear enough in itself; but we have not the opened eye till grace bestows it. If we have not the Spirit of God, the letter may actually become a veil to hide the spirit of truth; this, indeed, it should not be, neither is it according to its natural intent and tendency; but our depravity makes it so, turning even light itself into a thing which blinds. Do you know what it is to have a text leap out of the Scriptures upon you, and carry you away? This special energy and flash of truth is always memorable. How often have the waves of this sea of truth been phosphorescent before my eyes-a sea of glass mingled with fire, of which the spray has dashed over me and set my soul on flame! As surely as the Lord spake these words to Moses, or to David, or to Isaiah, or to John, or to Paul, so surely does he speak them to our souls by his Spirit. Understand you what I say? Moreover, our God has ways of communicating his mind to his children by those of his servants who speak in his name. He directs the thoughts of his ministers, and suggests their words, so that they speak to the cases of those who are led to hear the Word of God. By our own thoughts, also, the Lord communes with us. If we will be still before him, he will prepare our hearts, and in silence we shall hear his voice. It would be a strange thing if God could not, and did not, communicate with his own children; and it is still more strange and sad that, though he does speak, his people are slow of heart and dull of hearing.

Oh, that our ears may be opened to heavenly tidings-may be wakened, morning by morning, by the voice of the Lord! May we often hear it as the morning song and the evening hymn! May the Lord also hear our voices in prayer and praise and meditation, till our lives shall be a holy dialogue between our souls and our God, never dying down into silence, but lasting on until we behold Him face to face! Prayer by Matthew Henry

In the Name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on 1 Samuel

A Sermon, (No. 2184) Intended for Reading on Lord’s-day, January 18th, 1891.
Delivered by C. H. SPURGEON, At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington,
On Thursday Evening, October 9th, 1890.

“tilde” icon – i2symbol

Tremble

All these things My hand has made,
and so all these things came to be,
declares the LORD.
But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at My word.
Isaiah 66:2

חָרֵד

chared

fearful; also reverential:—afraid, trembling

This word, tremble, can mean to be afraid of something as well as to revere or stand in awe of something.

God, the Creator of all is the One and Only before which I stand in awe. His Word beholds the Truth and deserves reverence. I am on my knees.

Matthew Henry writes of this passage and the word, tremble, in Isaiah: “That he would not heed it as he would a humble, penitent, gracious heart. He has a heaven and earth of his own making, and a temple of man’s making; but he overlooks them all, that he may look with favour to him that is poor in spirit, humble and serious, self-abasing and self-denying, whose heart is truly contrite for sin, penitent for it, and in pain to get it pardoned, and who trembles at God’s word, not as Felix did, with a transient qualm that was over when the sermon was done, but with an habitual awe of God’s majesty and purity and an habitual dread of His justice and wrath. Such a heart is a living temple for God; He dwells there, and it is the place of His rest; it is like heaven and earth, His throne and His footstool.”

The precious one who is trembling is probably a gentle person, non-judgmental, humble and grateful. She/he is able to seek forgiveness when she has strayed, has sinned. She desires to please God and walk according to His ways. She trembles at the sound of His voice, His rippling waters, His rejoicing over her, His love for her. She knows her God yet is always learning about Him, ion awe of His power and greatness. The more she learns, the more she actually trembles for God is Almighty and Omniscient.

C. H. Spurgeon delivered a sermon in 1884 on this passage in Isaiah saying: They are not a proud people: they do not cry, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice?” They are humbly hearing; hearing the word of God, and inwardly reverencing the heavenly monitor. They are no longer careless and reckless, for the voice of the Lord has brought them to their bearings. They have bowed their heads before Jehovah, and they listen with rapt attention to everything that he may speak. They are like the child Samuel when he said, “Speak, Lord; for your servant hears.” They are teachable, and lowly, and by no means belong to the school who correct the infallible, and judge the unerring.

God’s Word should cause us to tremble. It holds the Truth, the only Truth. As I read the words of these two verses in Isaiah, I am in awe of the mightiness of our God. I cannot think of Him in any other way. Mighty in power. Exalted. Creator of all…ALL!!

And these are two of 31,102 verses in this magnificent Book. And how many of them speak of the wonder of our God? Oh, my!

God teaches us all that He desires that we grow in spirit and lean more and more toward Him, on Him. He wants us to know Him. He wants us to draw near to Him.

He gave us His Word.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5

For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it pierces even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

May I turn toward Him in all my ways, learning Who He is and all that He has done and continues to do for me. May I be a light in this dark world, LORD.

“And as for Me, this is My covenant with them,” says the LORD: “My Spirit that is upon you, and My words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children’s offspring,” says the LORD, “from this time forth and forevermore.” Isaiah 59:12

Hear the Word of the LORD,
you who tremble at His Word:
“Your brothers who hate you
and cast you out for My name’s sake
have said, ‘Let the LORD be glorified,
that we may see your joy’;
but it is they who shall be put to shame.
Isaiah 66:5

חָרֵד

This old hymn reminds me of the very reason I tremble for the earth shook when Jesus was crucified, died, and rose again. He draws me to Him and loves me despite my frailty of body, of spirit, of mind. He is the Living Water, the Christ, the Resurrection, the Bread. He nourishes me, quenches my thirst, and reminds me just Whose I am.

Were You There?

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
Were you there when God raised him from the tomb?
Were you there when God raised him from the tomb?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when God raised him from the tomb?

חָרֵד

Father God, may I bow before You trembling in reverence and love as I seek Your face. I pray that Your Word, Your Son, always be held in esteem in my very being. Father, I love You dearly and want to know You more and more. I want to tremble because of Who You are and what You have done, all that continue to do. You gave me Your Word so that I could see You more clearly as I read and study. I am truly sorry when I become slack in my study. May I love You so much that I only desire to know You more and more. May I tremble in Your Presence, LORD. I pray in the powerful Name of Jesus, Your Son, the Word. Amen.

Isaiah 66:1-2 graphic: https://www.facebook.com/thedailybibleverses/

from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Isaiah

C. H. Spurgeon’s quote comes from No. 2071-35:97. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, May 1, 1884, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

Graphic: Open Bible: https://www.jacobabshire.com/ + I added the text on Canva

“Tremble at the Word” http://www.rickeymacklin.com/tremble-at-his-word/

Were You There? An African American spiritual that probably predates the Civil War; was first published in William Barton’s Old Plantation Hymns (1899)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, my heart breaks.

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

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in Whom I trust.” For He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. Psalm 91:1-3

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

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

We must call upon God, our Rock and Refuge.

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

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

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

Pray to the One Who answers:

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

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

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

Thanksgiving, 2012

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

Photo of Mama, January, 2013: L. Gill

Broken Heart: Bible Study Tools

Isaiah 46:4 graphic: A Little Perspective Christine Miller

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

Psalm 91:1 graphic: A Little Perspective Christine Miller

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

Heart: Icon by Dryicons

Hosea 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

…over and oveR and ovER and oVER and OVER AGAIN!

God loves…

The children of Israel sin…

Hosea shows the love of God for His children, Israel. He also makes it clear just how far Israel strayed from God, from His commandments, laws and ways. I am reminded how much God loves me even though I strayed from Him again and again throughout my lifetime, especially in those years before knowing Christ as my Lord and Savior. I did not come to know Jesus until I was 45 years old. YET…no matter how often, how far, how deep the bride of Christ meanders from the Truth, the Way, the Life, God continually draws us back to Him.

Oh, God, please forgive me for the ways that I, too, stray from You, from Your Word. Thank You for loving me despite my faults, despite my sin.

And it shall be like people, like priest;
I will punish them for their ways
and repay them for their deeds.
They shall eat, but not be satisfied;
they shall play the whore, but not multiply,
because they have forsaken the LORD
to cherish whoredom, wine, and new wine,
which take away the understanding.
Hosea 4:9-11

I will return again to My place,
until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face,
and in their distress earnestly seek Me.
Hosea 5:15

For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. But like Adam they transgressed the covenant; there they dealt faithlessly with Me. Hosea 6:6-7

Although I trained and strengthened their arms,
yet they devise evil against Me.
They return, but not upward;
they are like a treacherous bow; their princes shall fall by the sword
because of the insolence of their tongue. This shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.
Hosea 7:16

For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.
The standing grain has no heads; it shall yield no flour;
if it were to yield, strangers would devour it. Israel is swallowed up;
already they are among the nations as a useless vessel.
Hosea 8:7-8

But they came to Baal-peor
and consecrated themselves to the thing of shame,
and became detestable like the thing they loved.
Hosea 9:10b

You have plowed iniquity;
you have reaped injustice;
you have eaten the fruit of lies.
Because you have trusted in your own way
and in the multitude of your warriors, therefore the tumult of war shall arise among your people, and all your fortresses shall be destroyed,
as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle;
mothers were dashed in pieces with their children.
Thus it shall be done to you, O Bethel, because of your great evil. At dawn the king of Israel
shall be utterly cut off.
Hosea 10:13-15

…a useless vessel….detestable…utterly cut off… Israel has shown itself weak in the sight of the Lord. He loves them, yet He turns His back upon them until they choose to return to Him wholly. I know God has wondered over me year-upon-year as I lived for myself, dependent on no one but me. I thought all was fine. Upon looking back at my life, I truly was lost. I did not know Jesus Christ. I worshiped false idols, betrayed the One Who created me, looked to my own self for the answers. In the Scriptures from Hosea here, do you see God’s love woven into the lives of His children? into their hearts? how He draws them back even when disciplining? God is so merciful. Even when we stray, He wants us to draw near to Him.

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you. James 4:8-10

Father God, I pray that I humbly follow Your ways, Your commandments, Your path for my life. Thank You, Lord, for loving me when I did not. Thank You for guiding my path so that I would meet Jesus. God You are so beautiful. You care for me in the worst of times, the best times, and all the in between times. You are stern, yet gentle. You care so much about the bride of Christ, Your children, that You must discipline us so that we can come to our knees, seeking Your forgiveness. I am so thankful that You sent Your Son, Jesus the Christ to take my sins to the Cross for eternity. You drew me to You and rained Your forgiveness, love, and peace over me. I am grateful and love You for always. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Thanks to:

Graphic: Hosea 4:6 – http://stepintothestory.ca

Graphic: Hosea 5:6 – https://biblepic.com/hosea/5-6.htm

Graphic: Hosea 6:3- https://biblia.com/bible/images/640×480/Ho6.3?extension=png&fallbackOnFailure=false

Graphic: Hosea 7:10 – https://www.pinterest.com/cinnersaved/hosea/

Graphic: Hosea 8:7 – https://dwellingintheword.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/898-hosea-8/

Graphic: Hosea 9:10a – https://calvarydayton.com/sermons/hosea-09_01-11/

Graphic: Hosea 10:12 – https://images.knowing-jesus.com/i/hosea-10-12-break-up-your-fallow-ground-it-is-time-to-seek-the-lord-black-4118

Firmly Fixed, Settled, Established

Forever, O LORD, Your Word is firmly fixed in the heavens. Psalm 119:89

נָצַב

natsab

to station, in various applications (literally or figuratively):—appointed, deputy, erect, establish, lay, officer, pillar, present, rear up, set (over, up), settle, sharpen, establish, (make to) stand(-ing, still, up, upright), best state

Forever, O LORD,
Your word is settled in heaven.
NKJV

Your word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. NIV

O LORD, Your instructions endure; they stand secure in heaven. NET

Firmly fixed…settled…stands firm…stand secure… These words describe a soldier, a pillar holding up a building, something with strength and durability. God’s Word is that soldier, marching with power and strength into the battlefield. God’s Word is settled and strong because it is the Foundation. God’s Word is established because it is living…and will forever!

The Word of God is inerrant and infallible. These are strong and sharp words, describing the Word of God. They are the Truth about His Word.

This same Hebrew word is used in a number of ways throughout the Old Testament to show an establishment, a settling:

But you have upheld me because of my integrity,
and set me in your presence forever.
Psalm 41:12

You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth;
you have made summer and winter.
Psalm 74:17

The LORD tears down the house of the proud
but maintains the widow’s boundaries.
Proverbs 15:25

Then he who saw cried out:
“Upon a watchtower I stand, O Lord,
continually by day,
and at my post I am stationed
whole nights.
Isaiah 21:8

Your Word, Lord, stands strong and certain in these times of uncertainty. It is the Truth and the Truth sets me free. That freedom allows me to stand firm in the commitments I have made to You, O Lord. Please hold me to these. I desire to stay settled. Standing with You, Lord, is life. It is a gift I so willingly now accept. Thank You, Lord. I know a strength that I have never known before. Praising You. Amen.

The Word of God does not return void nor does it falter. It is powerful and mighty in ways I may never know on this earth. Yet, as I dwell in the Word, I am becoming more acquainted with God, the Author.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God will stand forever. Isaiah 40:8

For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God,… Ephesians 6:17

Is not My Word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? Jeremiah 23:29

So shall My Word be that goes out from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11

Father God, I pray that I glean Truths from Your Word every time I read from it. I pray that I become more consistent, more intentional in reading Your Truth. I ask You to hold me near, guiding me toward these desires, these hopes. I thank You for teaching and reproving me, for correcting and training me in the ways in which I should go. May Your Word be more of a lamp to me each day, guiding me along the path You have set for me. I thank You in the strong Name of Jesus. Amen.

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

Photo/graphic: Psalm 119:89CraigThompson.orghttp://www.passionforpreaching.net

Graphic: “Word of God” – https://abideingodsword.com/2014/03/18/31714-the-powerful-word-of-god/

Photo of open Bible: https://wallpapertag.com/open-bible-background

Graphic: “Word of God”http://www.intothedeepblog.net/2016/05/the-sunday-word.html