Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Testing

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him.  Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:3-9

δοκίμιον

dokimion

a testing; by implication, trustworthiness:—trial, trying; a crucible

Other versions of 1 Peter 1:7 ~

These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. NIV

…that the proof of your faithbeing more precious than gold which perishes though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; NASB20

…so that the proven character of your faith ​— ​more valuable than gold which, though perishable, is refined by fire ​— ​may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. CSB

*the proving, your proved faith; that by which something is tried or proved, a test*

I love that word, “proving,” as though there is something to prove. Indeed, the test, the proof is in our willingness to obey and stand upright as we wait upon the Lord. He will bring us through whatever test, whatever proving ground we are to face. Counting whatever we go through all joy, or rejoice in the midst of these trials, can seem so opposite of what we are walking or running through, yet God calls us to these things and also calls us to rejoice, to be joyful in the midst.

Can you imagine being a Ukrainian today and being able to rejoice, to count all that they are experiencing or witnessing in this horrendous war all around them, and still be able to recount it with joy? Watching around 100 Ukrainian women and children evacuate from the ruined Azovstal steelworks in the city of Mariupol on Sunday, May 1, 2022, after two-plus months hiding under the plant would bring a sense of joy in the release, yet there was the threat of Russia bombing, leaving family and friends behind…could they count it joy? I know I would have rough time yet that is exactly the way we are to face the trials each and every day. Oh, God, please give me the strength of Jesus to face my trials. He went to that horrible cross for me, down the Via Delorosa, and counted and considered it all joy!

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.
Matthew 4:1-11

Jesus withstood such temptations, showing me that I can lean on Him for He desires to carry my burdens, to walk besides me, to dwell within me.

from Matthew Henry’s Commentary of 1 Peter:
The apostle grants they were in great affliction, and propounds several things in mitigation of their sorrows. 

1. Every sound Christian has always something wherein he may greatly rejoice. Great rejoicing contains more than an inward placid serenity of mind or sensation of comfort; it will show itself in the countenance and conduct, but especially in praise and gratitude.

2. The chief joy of a good Christian arises from things spiritual and heavenly, from his relation to God and to heaven. In these every sound Christian greatly rejoices; his joy arises from his treasure, which consists of matters of great value, and the title to them is sure.

3. The best Christians, those who have reason greatly to rejoice, may yet be in great heaviness through manifold temptations. All sorts of adversities are temptations, or trials of faith, patience, and constancy. These seldom go singly, but are manifold, and come from different quarters, the effect of all which is great heaviness. As men, we are subject to sorrows, personal and domestic. As Christians, our duty to God obliges us to frequent sorrow: and our compassion towards the miserable, the dishonour done to God, the calamities of his church, and the destruction of mankind, from their own folly and from divine vengeance, raise, in a generous and pious mind, almost continual sorrow. 

4. The afflictions and sorrows of good people are but for a little while, they are but for a season; though they may be smart, they are but short. Life itself is but for a little while, and the sorrows of it cannot survive it; the shortness of any affliction does much abate the heaviness of it.

5. Great heaviness is often necessary to a Christian’s good: If need be, you are in heaviness. God does not afflict his people willingly, but acts with judgment, in proportion to our needs. There is a conveniency and fitness, nay, an absolute necessity in the case, for so the expression signifies: it must be;therefore no man should be moved by these afflictions. These troubles, that lie heavy, never come upon us but when we have need, and never stay any longer than needs must.

Mr. Henry goes on regarding the praise, the honor, and the glory:

“The trial of faith will be found to praise, and honour, and glory. Honour is properly that esteem and value which one has with another, and so God and man will honour the saints. Praise is the expression or declaration of that esteem; so Christ will commend his people in the great day, Come, you blessed of my Father, etc. Glory is that lustre wherewith a person, so honoured and praised, shines in heaven.  …. Jesus Christ will appear again in glory, and, when he does so, the saints will appear with him, and their graces will appear illustrious; and the more they have been tried the more bright they will then appear. The trial will soon be over, but the glory, honour, and praise will last to eternity. This should reconcile you to your present afflictions: they work for you a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5

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

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

“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

And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22

Father God, there are so many reasons to rejoice even when I do not feel like rejoicing. And there could also be many reasons why I should feel overwhelmed and filled with sorrow. Yet, You lift me up when I am down. You fill me up when I am empty. You stand with me always and care for me, about me. You have given me life through Your Son, Jesus the Christ, Who died that terrible death for me, taking my sins to the cross. You shower grace and mercy upon me again and again. You sustain me and never let me down. I trust You and know I can. I know You are my God forever and ever. I will be spending Eternity with You. Oh, Lord, how glorious that will be. I thank You for holding me near through any and all trials I may be currently going through as well as those in my future. I thank You from the depths of my heart.

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

The Lifter of My Head

But you, O Lord, are a Shield about me, my Glory, and the Lifter of my head.  Psalm 3:3

Do you recall a time when someone you loved, someone you looked up to, someone you adored, took your lowered head and gently raised your chin with their hand, their fingertips?  You may have been a child, a teen, or an adult. Your lip may have been quivering, a tear running down your cheek.  That person lifted your head until your eyes met theirs.  You saw their loving eyes and sensed the caring they had towards you.  Your heart was touched by this one’s protection, reassurance, and love for you, for just you at that very moment. Slow down and remember such a moment, such a person as this.  Ponder the memory.  Sense the moment right now.

God, our Father, feels this way about us…even more so. 

God is my Shield.  He encircles me with His strength, His power, and His might.  He defends and protects me in ways I cannot even know.  

He is my steadfast love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and He in Whom I take refuge, who subdues my people under me.  Psalm 144:2

God is majestic. He deserves reverential love and awe as I kneel before Him.  

On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
  Psalm 62:7 

He lifts me up high. And as I stand with Him, let nothing in the world pull me down.  He sent His Son to die for me and nailed my sins to that cross.  I do not want to be ashamed, but to stand strong in the LORD. 

What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. 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. Philippians 1:18-20

Lifting my head is looking up and seeing the Father’s glory, His reflection, His love. His touch is gentle and kind.  He created me and knows my potential.  He lifts me up.  Confidence is being built in me through Him.

Lifting my head helps me to see beyond my circumstances.  My head is higher than anything that is not of God.  None of that can control me when my head is lifted. 

He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. Psalm 40:2 

I can see above to the heavenly realm.  I can know that God, my Father, lights the skies for my way as I follow Him.  Fears are released and given no power for the LORD is the power. 

“Then He said to them, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out?”  Matthew 12:11

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.  James 4:10

LORD, I pray that each of us seek You, the Lifter of our heads, our Salvation.  You call us to come before You in thanksgiving and praise.  We bow before the cross, asking for forgiveness, knowing that You have already poured Your grace upon us.  Abba Father, thank You for giving us vision to see beyond our current point in this life, past the pain and suffering, whether of ourselves or of those we love or of others in this world.  You know all and You call us to Your side, lifting us from the miry clay. With gratitude for being the Lifter of my head, I pray in the Name of Jesus. Thank You, Sweet LORD.  Amen.

Some 21+ years ago, I published a similar post on Being Woven. Originally, it was for an online devotional called “Granola Bar Devotionals.” Alisa Hope Wagner, also at enLIVEn Devotionals, the author and gatherer of writings of others, has gone on to write many books, inspiring other women to continue writing in new venues.

photo of baby: “I’m Trying So Hard to Lift My Head Up!! : ) – Tummy Time”
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/tummy-time–476466835550170037/

Bible Study · Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

See To It…

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

This one verse is so packed with words and concepts that I want to understand. I was going to break this into two posts but it all ties together as one rather large misstep I can make so easily in my walk with God. So I shall unpack these words and see just where God leads.

philosophy

φιλοσοφία

philosophia

properly, love (and pursuit) of wisdom; used in the Greek writings of either zeal for or skill in any art or science, any branch of knowledge. Once in the N. T. (Col. 2:8), of the theology or rather theosophy* (see below for definition), of certain Jewish-Christian ascetics, which busied itself with refined and speculative inquiries into the nature and classes of angels, into the ritual of the Mosaic law and the regulations of Jewish tradition respecting practical life.

empty

κενός

kenos

  1. empty, vain, devoid of truth
    1. of places, vessels, etc. which contain nothing
    2. of men
      1. empty handed
      2. without a gift
    3. metaph. destitute of spiritual wealth, of one who boasts of his faith as a transcendent possession, yet is without the fruits of faith
    4. metaph. of endeavours, labours, acts, which result in nothing, vain, fruitless, without effect
      1. vain of no purpose

deceit

ἀπάτη

apatē

deceit, deceitfulness; the lusts excited by deceit, i. e. by deceitful influences seducing to sin, (others, ‘deceitful lusts’)

elemental spirits

στοιχεῖον

stoicheion

  1. any first thing, from which the others belonging to some series or composite whole take their rise, an element, first principal
    1. the letters of the alphabet as the elements of speech, not however the written characters, but the spoken sounds
    2. the elements from which all things have come, the material causes of the universe
    3. the heavenly bodies, either as parts of the heavens or (as others think) because in them the elements of man, life and destiny were supposed to reside
    4. the elements, rudiments, primary and fundamental principles of any art, science, or discipline
      1. i.e. of mathematics, Euclid’s geometry

I spent about ten years of my adult life (before I knew Christ) following after philosophies of New Age and Eastern religions. I read and pondered things that turned into empty deceitful ways. Very little fruit, if any, grew on me-trees, on and in me, planted by these “religions.” Elemental spirits of this world, of satan, pulled me into a web which was difficult to pull and push my way out. These were the makings of human traditions, of this world and the underworld. They were surely not of Christ. Yet I remained blinded by them for, oh, so long!

There is so much that can ensnare us and then hold us tightly in its grasp. Our focus must be on Christ or we will not be able to discern much once we are in the midst of these elemental spirits, these basics of life yet are not life-giving. O Lord, hold me fast. I must “see to it…see to seeking You, my Lord.

from Matthew Henry’s Commentary of Colossians: “The fair warning given us of our danger: Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. There is a philosophy which is a noble exercise of our reasonable faculties, and highly serviceable to religion, such a study of the works of God as leads us to the knowledge of God and confirms our faith in him. But there is a philosophy which is vain and deceitful, which is prejudicial to religion, and sets up the wisdom of man in competition with the wisdom of God, and while it pleases men’s fancies ruins their faith; as nice and curious speculations about things above us, or of no use and concern to us; or a care of words and terms of art, which have only an empty and often a cheating appearance of knowledge.”

After the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world: this plainly reflects upon the Jewish pedagogy or economy, as well as the Pagan learning. The Jews governed themselves by the traditions of their elders and the rudiments or elements of the world, the rites and observances which were only preparatory and introductory to the gospel state; the Gentiles mixed their maxims of philosophy with their Christian principles; and both alienated their minds from Christ. Those who pin their faith on other men’s sleeves, and walk in the way of the world, have turned away from following after Christ. The deceivers were especially the Jewish teachers, who endeavoured to keep up the law of Moses in conjunction with the gospel of Christ, but really in competition with it and contradiction to it.”

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Matthew 7:15

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. 2 Peter 3:17

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? Galatians 4:8-9

If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations—“Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. Colossians 2:20-23

O Father, I pray that I keep my eyes, my ears, my heart focused upon You, and You Alone. May my heart and mind be so attuned to Your Word, to Your Son, that I would know the Truth all of the time. I pray that I would know the way in which I should go as the Holy Spirit directs me each and every minute of each and every day. May I see to it that my understanding of You will continue to grow in the wisdom and knowledge of You, not of this world for it is not Your‘s. I pray for my sisters and brothers in Christ to know Your ways for them as well. My desire is to be wholly Yours in all my ways. Please direct, and redirect, my paths, Lord, for I stray. I am so sorry for I do not intend to wander, yet I do…I have. The world seeks me yet I desire to see to it that I find shelter under the cleft of the Rock. Only in You will I be safe. In the precious and Holy Name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Graphic of Colossians 2:8 @ Young Disciples International

Colossians 2:8 license plate @ Josh McKibbon on Pinterest and Flickr

Matthew Henry’s words come from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Colossians.

* definition of ‘theosophy’ ~ “any of a number of philosophies maintaining that a knowledge of God may be achieved through spiritual ecstasy, direct intuition, or special individual relations”

Classical Writers · Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering · prayer

Classic Works Woven – Oswald Chambers – 2

I know I posted Oswald Chambers last week, but he has been vital to my Christian growth. I want to spend a bit more time on him this week.

“Shut out every other consideration and keep yourself before God for this one thing only—My Utmost for His Highest. I am determined to be absolutely and entirely for Him and for Him alone.” —Oswald Chambers

“We are not responsible for the circumstances we are in, but we are responsible for the way we allow those circumstances to affect us; we can either allow them to get on top of us or we can allow them to transform us into what God wants us to be.”

“Solitude with God repairs the damage done by the fret and noise and clamour of the world.”

We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties.

On the morning of March 9, 2022, as I read from “My Utmost for His Highest”, I could not have been gifted a more perfect devotional reading for ‘such a time as this’ in my walk with Jesus. I have much to ponder until Jesus returns:

“Turning Back or Walking with Jesus?”

By Oswald Chamber
Do you also want to go away?” —John 6:67

“What a penetrating question! Our Lord’s words often hit home for us when He speaks in the simplest way. In spite of the fact that we know who Jesus is, He asks, “Do you also want to go away?” We must continually maintain an adventurous attitude toward Him, despite any potential personal risk.

“’From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more’ (John 6:66). They turned back from walking with Jesus; not into sin, but away from Him. Many people today are pouring their lives out and working for Jesus Christ, but are not really walking with Him. One thing God constantly requires of us is a oneness with Jesus Christ. After being set apart through sanctification, we should discipline our lives spiritually to maintain this intimate oneness. When God gives you a clear determination of His will for you, all your striving to maintain that relationship by some particular method is completely unnecessary. All that is required is to live a natural life of absolute dependence on Jesus Christ. Never try to live your life with God in any other way than His way. And His way means absolute devotion to Him. Showing no concern for the uncertainties that lie ahead is the secret of walking with Jesus.

“Peter saw in Jesus only someone who could minister salvation to him and to the world. But our Lord wants us to be fellow laborers with Him.

“In John 6:70 Jesus lovingly reminded Peter that he was chosen to go with Him. And each of us must answer this question for ourselves and no one else: ‘Do you also want to go away?‘”

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS: Jesus Christ reveals, not an embarrassed God, not a confused God, not a God who stands apart from the problems, but One who stands in the thick of the whole thing with man.   (Disciples Indeed, 388 L)

Oh, Lord, I do not wish to walk away, yet I have certainly toyed with that idea due to this world pulling and pushing me away. Satan has had his grasp upon me, upon my feet and arms and even my neck, so it seems. I watch how others, who call themselves Christians, walk and talk. They have so disappointed and dismayed me. The behaviors of some have made me doubt the faith which I have been steadfastly walking now for 29 years now. YET…Lord, You, the love that emanates from You, calls me back. I pray that I walk in diligence, spending time in Your Word, on my knees, finding a church home now that Covid is mellowing out here, in order to know You more and more, and to remind me of Whose I am. Pull me towards You should I stray. Pull me towards You should I doubt, question my faith, question even You in my ‘rearranged mind.’ Please pull me towards You should I not desire to be in Your sphere, for I really….REALLY…do love You and want to be in the same orbit as You. I do not really want to be far away. Guide my steps. Please keep me close, Lord. In Your Beautiful and Holy Name, I pray. Amen.

Oswald Chambers/quote @ AZ Quotes

“Spiritual maturity” quote @ quotefancy.com

Obedience @ quote fancy

Book Cover/”My Utmost for His Highest” @ utmost.org

Devotional @ https://utmost.org

“Whenever the conviction…” @ quote fancy

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

A Weather Report

I love how God has given us weather reports throughout the Bible. He tells us of the actual rains and winds on this physical earth. He also uses weather-related metaphors giving us wonderfully clear word pictures.

The one we are probably most familiar with is Noah and the ark ~

And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights. Genesis 7:12

And Jonah ~

But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up. Jonah 1:4

The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty. His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet. Nahum 1:3

Then Moses stretched out his staff toward heaven, and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down to the earth. And the LORD rained hail upon the land of Egypt. Exodus 9:23

Wild and gentle are the ways of the weather. Wild and gentle are the ways of God.

“Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak, and let the earth hear the words of my mouth. May my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew, like gentle rain upon the tender grass, and like showers upon the herb. For I will proclaim the name of the LORD; ascribe greatness to our God! Deuteronomy 32:1-3

And He was also saying to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming,’ and so it turns out. Luke 12:54

From the breath of God ice is made,
And the expanse of the waters is frozen.
Job 37:10

For to the snow He says, ‘Fall on the earth,’
likewise to the downpour, His mighty downpour.
Job 37:6

Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling His word! Psalm 148:7-8

You will be visited by the Lord of hosts with thunder and with earthquake and great noise, with whirlwind and tempest, and the flame of a devouring fire. Isaiah 29:6

Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of His covenant was seen within His temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail. Revelations 11:19

by Justin Battles

Then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Leviticus 26:4

Sometimes, I think that God must have storehouses filled with rainwater, snow, hail for the deluges are so enormous that the areas upon which the storm dumps floods, or avalanches, or all that is in the path of the wind is totally destroyed. But, oh, that is my human imagination. I do not know now. One day!

The clouds poured out water; the skies gave forth thunder;
Your arrows flashed on every side. The crash of Your thunder was in the whirlwind;
Your lightnings lighted up the world; the earth trembled and shook.
Psalm 77:17-18

And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. 1 Kings 19:11-12

It is He who made the earth by His power, who established the world by His wisdom, and by His understanding stretched out the heavens. When He utters His voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and He makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain, and He brings forth the wind from His storehouses. Jeremiah 10:12-13

Yet, in the darkness, the light will come. God is so much more than the very circumstances.

I praise You, my Father.

I form light and create darkness;
I make well-being and create calamity;
I am the LORD, who does all these things.

“Shower, O heavens, from above,
and let the clouds rain down righteousness;
let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit;
let the earth cause them both to sprout;
I the LORD have created it.
” Isaiah 45:7-8

Father, God of Heaven and Earth, You have created all. You have placed us in the midst that we would care for Your earth. You provide in ways to water the plants and give humans water to drink. Yet, many of Your ways I cannot understand for so many live without sources of water and many places on this planet are shriveling up for lack of water. And other places (and its people) are flooded beyond recognition. My ways are not Yours, but one day, Lord, will I understand? This earth is such a beautiful place but it was far more so when You first created the Garden of Eden. We have caused must decay and dismay by not being the caretakers You desired from us. I am sorry that we continue to fail You and Your creation. Lord, as I think about the majesty and harshness of weather upon this world, I think of the Ukrainian people for they are never far from my mind and heart these days. They are trying to hunker down or flee their country in the midst of freezing cold with some snow while the country is in the midst of a horrible war. Please hold them closely while some seek safe shelter where they are while others run to other countries. Please keep Mr. Putin and his forces from bombing hospitals and places that should be a safe haven. Please, Lord, stop this awful war. I am usually a peacemaker, but this is so beyond any ability of my own. I cannot even make peace among my friends these days. Only You can do that, Father God…any and all of it. My Prince of Peace, please rain Your peace upon us all, especially this time in Ukraine. The beautiful, although at times, threatening, but also awe-inspiring weather is so filled with You and the amazing God You are. May I look in awe at it and know that You are the God of all this earth…the God of me. Guide my steps to keep me on the path of righteousness. I love You, Lord. In the Powerful Name of Christ Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of Life.” John 8:12

rain @ wallpaper cave

waves/lighthouse @ The Inertia

hurricane @ AGU Blogosphere

huge storm @ Wallpapertag.com

Hail @ audiojungle

rainclouds over green hills/barn @ pixelstalk.net

rain storm @ Pixelstalk

Ice Storm @ Vermont Institute of Natural Science

Snow storm @ The Morning Call

Fire @ The National Interest

Lightning @ Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Lightning #2 by Justin Battles @ strangesounds.org

Alaska Earthquake damage @ KOTATV

Rain and Hail in Ruidoso, NM @ Ruidoso News

wild clouds @ fanpop

Extreme weather collage @ NASA.gov

Tornado @ Weather.com

mammoth dust storm @ The Washington Post

Storm over boats @ Woodenboat.com

Sea with sunset @ Pixelstalk

sunny day/high clouds @ desktop backgrounds

Classical Writers · Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Classic Works Woven – Oswald Chambers

Oswald Chambers (24 July 1874 – 15 November 1917) was an early-twentieth-century Scottish Baptist evangelist and teacher who was aligned with the Holiness Movement. He is best known for the daily devotional My Utmost for His Highest. 

Holiness, not happiness, is the chief end of man.”

Born to devout parents in Aberdeen, Scotland, Chambers moved with his family in 1876 to Stoke-on-Trent when his father, Clarence Chambers, became Home Missions evangelist for the North Staffordshire Baptist Association, then to Perth, Scotland when his father returned to the pastorate, and finally to London in 1889, when Clarence was appointed Traveling Secretary of the Baptist Total Abstinence Association. At 16, Oswald Chambers was baptized and became a member of Rye Lane Baptist Chapel.  Even as a teenager, Chambers was noted for his deep spirituality, and he participated in the evangelization of poor occupants of local lodging houses.  Chambers also demonstrated gifts in both music and art.

“The whole point of getting things done is knowing what to leave undone”

From 1893 to 1895, Chambers studied at the National Art Training School, now the Royal College of Art and was offered a scholarship for further study, which he declined. For the next two years he continued his study of art at the University of Edinburgh while being greatly influenced by the preaching of Alexander Whyte, pastor of Free St. George’s Church.  While at Edinburgh, he felt called to ministry, and he left for Dunoon College, a small theological training school near Glasgow, founded by the Rev. Duncan MacGregor. Chambers was soon teaching classes at the school and took over much of the administration when MacGregor was injured in 1898.

While teaching at Dunoon, Chambers was influenced by Richard Reader Harris, a prominent barrister(attorney) and founder of the Pentecostal League of Prayer. In 1905, Harris introduced Chambers as “a new speaker of exceptional power.” Through the League, Chambers also met Juju Nakada, a Holiness evangelist from Japan, who stimulated Chambers’ growing interest in world evangelism. In 1906, Nakada and Chambers sailed for Japan via the United States.  In 1907, Chambers spent a semester teaching at God’s Bible School, a Holiness institution in Cincinnati, then spent a few months in Japan working with Charles Cowman, a co-founder of the Oriental Missionary Society.

Arriving back in Britain by the end of the year, Chambers found the Holiness movement divided by the advocates and opponents of founding a new denomination and by supporters and detractors of the tongues movement. Chambers did not oppose glossolalia but criticized those who made it a test of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Sailing back to the United States in 1908, Chambers became better acquainted with Gertrude Hobbs, the daughter of friends. They married in May 1910; and on 24 May 1913, Gertrude (whom Chambers affectionately called “Biddy”) gave birth to their only child, Kathleen.  Even before they married, Chambers considered a partnership in ministry in which Biddy—who could take shorthand at 250 words per minute—would transcribe and type his sermons and lessons into written form.

In 1911 Chambers founded and was principal of the Bible Training College in London, in an “embarrassingly elegant” property that had been purchased by the Pentecostal League of Prayer.  Chambers accommodated not only students of every age, education, and class but also anyone in need, believing he ought to “give to everyone who asks.” “No one was ever turned away from the door and whatever the person asked for, whether money, a winter overcoat, or a meal, was given.”  Between 1911 and 1915, 106 resident students attended the Bible Training College. By July 1915, forty were serving as missionaries.

Seeing is never believing: we interpret what we see in the light of what we believe. Faith is confidence in God before you see God emerging; therefore the nature of faith is that it must be tried.

In 1915, a year after the outbreak of World War I, Chambers suspended the operation of the school and was accepted as a YMCA chaplain. He was assigned to Egypt, where he ministered to Australian and New Zealand troops. Chambers raised the spiritual tone of a center intended by both the military and the YMCA to be simply an institution of social service providing wholesome alternatives to the brothels of Cairo. When he told a group of fellow YMCA workers that he had decided to abandon concerts and movies for Bible classes, they predicted the exodus of soldiers from his facilities. “What the skeptics had not considered was Chamber’s unusual personal appeal, his gift in speaking, and his genuine concern for the men.” Soon his wooden-framed “hut” was packed with hundreds of soldiers listening attentively to messages such as “What Is the Good of Prayer?” Confronted by a soldier who said, “I can’t stand religious people,” Chambers replied, “Neither can I.” Chambers irritated his YMCA superiors by giving away refreshments that the organization believed should be sold so as not to raise expectations elsewhere. Chambers installed a contribution box but refused to ask soldiers to pay for tea and cakes.

Chambers was stricken with appendicitis on October 17, 1917, but resisted going to a hospital on the grounds that the beds would be needed by men wounded in the long-expected Third Battle of Gaza. On October 29, a surgeon performed an emergency appendectomy; however, Chambers died November 15, 1917 from a pulmonary hemorrhage. He was buried in Cairo with full military honors.

For the remainder of Mrs. Chambers, she transcribed and published books and articles edited from the notes she had taken in shorthand during the Bible College years and later. Most successful of the thirty books was My Utmost for His Highest (1924), a daily devotional composed of 365 selections of Chamber’s talks, each of about 500 words. The work has never been out of print and has been translated into 39 languages.

We pray when there’s nothing else we can do; Jesus wants us to pray before we do anything at all.”

Father, men and women such as the Chambers were so filled with love for You and for reaching others. We are still able to read his works due to the diligence of many others after them. Mr. Chamber’s widow took the reins to edit and type so much of her husband’s writings. Thank You for each one who steps forward to Your call to guide and reach future generations, then and now. During the narrow span between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Oswald Chambers came to be used by You in order to reach many in his lifetime and then to continue to reach us all the way into the twenty-first century (and possibly beyond). As one of my favorite devotionals, “My Utmost for His Highest” is filled with daily readings that tend to dive to new depths in me. Thank You for this gift even still today. I praise You, Lord, for blessing me with the words of a man who so loved You and so loved those who came to listen to him. Ever so grateful, I pray in the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Classical Writers · Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Classic Works Woven – Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray was the second child of Andrew Murray Sr. (1794–1866), a Dutch Reformed Church missionary sent from Scotland to South Africa. He was born in Graaff Reinet, South Africa. His mother, Maria Susanna Stegmann, was of French Huguenot and German Lutheran descent.

Murray was sent with his elder brother, John, to the University of Aberdeen in Scotland for their college education. Both remained there until they obtained their master’s degrees in 1845. During this time they were influenced by Scottish revival meetings and the ministry of Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Horatius Bonar, and William Burns.  From there, they both went to the University of Utrecht, in The Netherlands, where they studied theology. Both brothers were ordained by The Hague Committee of the Dutch Reformed Church on 9 May 1848 and returned to the Cape.

Murray married Emma Rutherford in Cape Town, South Africa, on 2 July 1856. They had eight children together (four boys and four girls).

Murray pastored churches in South Africa. He was a champion of the South African Revival of 1860.

Through his writings, Murray was also a key “Inner Life” or “Higher Life” or Keswick movement leader, and his theology of faith healing and belief in the continuation of the apostolic gifts made him a significant forerunner of the Pentecostal movement.

Murray died on 18 January 1917.

There are many, many books authored by Mr. Murray. They continue to be read to this day. Here are just a few:

Abide in Christ – 1882

With Christ in the School of Prayer – 1885

Holy in Christ – 1887

The Power of the Blood of Christ – 1894

Absolute Surrender – 1895

Humility – 1895

“Each time, before you intercede, be quiet first, and worship God in His glory. Think of what He can do, and how He delights to hear the prayers of His redeemed people. Think of your place and privilege in Christ, and expect great things!” 
― Andrew Murray

Humility is perfect quietness of heart. It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door, and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and above is trouble.

A dead Christ I must do everything for, a living Christ does everything for me.”

“Pride must die in you, or nothing of heaven can live in you.” 

“Humility is simply the disposition which prepares the soul for living on trust.”

“Humility is the displacement of self by the enthronement of God.”

“Humility is nothing but the disappearance of self in the vision that God is all.”

“I need to spend time with God even when I do not know what to pray.”

Father God, thank you for men such as Mr. Murray who has left us with a library of profound and deeply-rooted-in-You books. I am overwhelmed at times when I read his works, many needing to be reread in order to gain the depth of the meaning. Yet, I am so grateful to have them to read. Guide and guard me as I read others’ works for I want You to teach me as I grow in You. May I walk rightly in You, my Lord. In the beautiful Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Picture of Andrew Murray with quote @ QuotesGram

“Salvation” quote @ ChristianQuotesInfo

“Just as” quote @ ChristianQuotesInfo

“It is the root…” quote @ pinterest

“Answered Prays…” quote @ quotefancy

Prayer by A. Murray @ Pinterest

#oneword · Devotionals · God's Word · OneWord365 · Pondering

Diligence – One Word 2022

I love those who love Me,
and those who seek Me diligently find Me.
Proverbs 8:17

שָׁחַר

šāḥar

to seek, seek early or earnestly, look early or diligently for

This verse in several other versions:

CSB – “I love those who love me, and those who search for me find me.”

NLT – “I love all who love me.
Those who search will surely find me.

KJV –  I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.

God is so wonderful and amazing…wonderfully amazing!! During this past month, since I last wrote on “diligence,” I began the Community Bible Study (similar to Bible Study Fellowship, I believe) via Zoom with a group of women…local to my new place of residence. I contacted them just to find out about them and the study for next year, 2022-23. I did not want to join the current study midstream. But God had another plan: the current study is on and around ‘suffering’ using five different Books of the Bible. They had just begun 1 and 2 Peter with Colossians yet to go, having missed James and Job already. I would be more than welcome to start midstream, I was told. I could join the whole group plus any small group, and that they have one online. So I did…joined three weeks ago.

Last month on OneWord2022 I shared the Scriptures (from 2 Peter) that I am using for the base of this 2022’s study and direction for ‘diligence.’ AND…we have just begun 2 Peter in Community Bible Study. I love this dovetailing Craftsman that is our God. In His wisdom He knows just where I must go in order to be on the path He has set for me.

For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:8-11

Walking in diligence is to follow all that God has for me. It is so desirable by me because I do not want to fall or become ineffective or unfruitful. I do not want to stumble. I do not want to be turned to the right or to the left. I want only that which my God desires of me. But I must seek His face and not be blinded by that which is of the world. Satan is so ready to pounce:

Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Those qualities that I am to pursue are:

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 1 Peter 1: 5-7

Diligence is a rhythm that I am learning more this year than in many, maybe any. I am being diligent about posting twice a week on Being Woven, and reading the Bible each and every day. I am following Patsy Burnette’s “Sweeter Than Honey, A 365-Day Devotional Journey.” I find that the routine is giving me such strength in this desire of diligence. I press on toward the goal:

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14

God knows I may fall but that is not my wish. I also know He will pull me up and set me back on the path should I fall, should I lose my way and become unfruitful and ineffective. I will seek Him and not run away which is a reaction I am very capable of doing…maybe not running physically these days, but my heart and mind still can for they have, and taken me with!! I truly do NOT want that.

Lord, please protect me from the temptation of the evil one.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

Father God, thank You for loving me and providing this Scripture from Jeremiah just now for You show me that You have the reins. I trust you with all of my being. Continue to guide me and guard me on the path of diligence. Please show me how to seek Your face in all I am and all I do. I pray for Your protection of all that satan would rather I be doing or being. Hold me near as I draw near to You, my Lord. I love You and pray all of this in the Name of Jesus, Your Son. Amen.

Diligence One Word 2022: photo at Pixabay; graphics added by me @ Pixlr photo editor

“DILIGENCE” @ 1st-Resource.com

One Word 2022: photo at Pixabay; graphics added by me @ Pixlr photo editor

Classical Writers · Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Classic Works Woven ~ Charles H. Spurgeon

It shall be on Aaron’s forehead, and Aaron shall bear any guilt from the holy things that the people of Israel consecrate as their holy gifts. It shall regularly be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD. Exodus 28:38

From Morning By Morning (and Morning and Evening) by Charles H. Spurgeon:

January 8th:

What a veil is lifted up by these words, and what a disclosure is made! It will be humbling and profitable for us to pause awhile and see this sad sight. The iniquities of our public worship, its hypocrisy, formality, lukewarmness, irreverence, wandering of heart and forgetfulness of God, what a full measure have we there! Our work for the Lord, its emulation, selfishness, carelessness, slackness, unbelief, what a mass of defilement is there! Our private devotions, their laxity, coldness, neglect, sleepiness, and vanity, what a mountain of dead earth is there! If we looked more carefully we should find this iniquity to be far greater than appears at first sight. Dr. Payson, writing to his brother, says, “My parish, as well as my heart, very much resembles the garden of the sluggard; and what is worse, I find that very many of my desires for the melioration of both, proceed either from pride or vanity or indolence. I look at the weeds which overspread my garden, and breathe out an earnest wish that they were eradicated. But why? What prompts the wish? It may be that I may walk out and say to myself, ‘In what fine order is my garden kept!’ This is pride. Or, it may be that my neighbours may look over the wall and say, ‘How finely your garden flourishes!’ This is vanity. Or I may wish for the destruction of the weeds, because I am weary of pulling them up. This is indolence.” So that even our desires after holiness may be polluted by ill motives. Under the greenest sods worms hide themselves; we need not look long to discover them. How cheering is the thought, that when the High Priest bore the iniquity of the holy things he wore upon his brow the words, “HOLINESS TO THE LORD:” and even so while Jesus bears our sin, he presents before his Father’s face not our unholiness, but his own holiness. O for grace to view our great High Priest by the eye of faith!

And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jeremiah 31:34

“Charles Spurgeon, a 19th century English Baptist minister, was one of the most influential and extraordinary preachers of his era. Spurgeon’s theology could best be summarized as evangelical Calvinism. Today he is remembered as the “Prince of Preachers.”

“Spurgeon was only 16 when he preached his first sermon as pastor of Waterbeach Baptist Chapel near Cambridge. Within two years, the little congregation grew from 40 to 400. He spoke in chapels, cottages, and open-air meetings in the countryside surrounding Cambridge. Spurgeon’s energy, enthusiasm, and preaching skill earned him so much attention that he was eventually invited to speak in London. On December 18, 1853, the 19-year-old Spurgeon delivered his first sermon at the famous New Park Street Chapel in London. Soon he was called to be the pastor. From then on, Spurgeon stayed in London.

“Spurgeon married Susanna Thompson in 1856 and within a year had twin sons, Charles and Thomas. Both became Baptist ministers.

“Practically overnight Spurgeon became a preaching sensation, drawing multitudes in the tens of thousands. By age 22, he was quite possibly the most famous orator in the world. His youthful appearance contrasted startlingly with his mature sermons, which were published regularly in the London Times and newspapers around the world. In 1861, at the famous Crystal Palace, Spurgeon preached to the largest enclosed gathering ever recorded. The event was the national day of fasting and prayer, and the crowd numbered nearly 24,000. In March of that same year, the Metropolitan Tabernacle in Newington opened. The new building, with its seating capacity of 6,000, would be home to Spurgeon’s flock and the hub of his preaching ministry until his death in 1892.”

Photo/quote @ Heartlight.org

Photo of .H. Spurgeon with quote @ Quotes Gram

“” – Partial bio of C.H. Spurgeon @ Learn Religions

Poster at time of Spurgeon’s death @ Getty Images/LearnReligion

Last Photo with quote @ quotefancy

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Just Enough!

But when they measured it with an omer*, whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack. Each of them gathered as much as he could eat. Exodus 16:18

Ever so peacefully, this verse tells me that God gives me just what I need…no more…no less.

Just enough!!

My dependence should be upon the God of the Universe for He is my provider. For all my needs, I need only to look to the Resource of all and He is God. I need not try in any strength of myself except that which is necessary. I need to turn to God.

…had nothing left over…had no lack! Just enough!

And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.” Genesis 22:13-14

So Abraham called the name of that place, “Jehovah-Jirah;” as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.” Jehovah-Jirah, The LORD will provide, God my Provider, Jireh, to see, foresee the needs, to provide for those needs.

יְהֹוָה

Yᵊhōvâ

Jehovah = “the existing One”

רָאָה

rā’â

to look upon, cause to see, to provide, to furnish

…had nothing left over…had no lack! Just enough!

The LORD makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and He exalts. He raises up the poor from the dust;
He lifts the needy from the ash heap
to make them sit with princes
and inherit a seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s,
and on them He has set the world.
1 Samuel 2:7-8

Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all. In Your hand are power and might, and in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. 1 Chronicles 29:12

For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.” 2 Corinthians 8:13-15

And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

…had nothing left over…had no lack! Just enough!

NO! HE IS …

Oh, God, may I be utterly dependent upon You for all my all, that I have no lack nor no need! All my physical needs, my steps and turns that I take in my walk with You will be in You. You are the Jehovah-Jireh, the LORD the Provider….my Provider. May I bow before you as one who needs You in all ways, for all things including my peace. May the abundance of You, LORD, be displayed in my life because I count on Your provision, Your love, Your guidance. May those doubts and fears that creep over me in these days be nothing that You cannot carry. May my burdens be light because You do not grow weary. And may I allow You to hold me when I so need to be close to You for You are MORE THAN ENOUGH! May this be so in the Name of Christ, my Lord. Amen.

*an omer: a dry measure of 1/10 ephah (about 2 litres). an ancient Hebrew dry measure, the tenth part of an ephah. *The ephah equaled three-fifths of a bushel or in metric measure, twenty-two liters. The omer was two quarts or about two liters.

Graphic: Jehovah Jireh @ Family Radio

Pillars @ Howard Carter – How in the World!

Just Enough! graphics by me at Pixlr Editor