Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

A Taunt, A Reproach, A Curse…

Bugs Bunny likes to taunt Elmer Fudd in the cartoons, similarly, the Roadrunner to Wylie Coyote. I have struggled my life to not be a target for another’s taunts. Today’s language might state ‘a taunt’ as ‘bullying.’ God states that the Israelites will be a taunt. It is not that they are doing the taunting but that they are doing things that cause others to notice them and what they have done to betray their God, the One True God. The children of God have disobeyed God. After many, many reminders, God uses them as a taunt, as a visual lesson from God to others watching. In the meantime, others may, indeed, taunt those who have gone astray.

How often throughout my 74 years have I disappointed and displeased God in the actions I have taken, the words I have spewed out, the thoughts I have had? Often, in the Bible, we see, again and again, the Israelites idolizing gods of others. They disobey God by going against His rules and His words.

And the people of Israel did secretly against the LORD their God things that were not right. They built for themselves high places in all their towns, from watchtower to fortified city. They set up for themselves pillars and Asherim on every high hill and under every green tree, and there they made offerings on all the high places, as the nations did whom the LORD carried away before them. And they did wicked things, provoking the LORD to anger, and they served idols, of which the LORD had said to them, “You shall not do this.” Yet the LORD warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and my statutes, in accordance with all the Law that I commanded your fathers, and that I sent to you by my servants the prophets.” But they would not listen, but were stubborn, as their fathers had been, who did not believe in the LORD their God. 2 Kings 17:9-14

As I continue to read the Bible with “Sweeter Than Honey Devotional A 365-Day Devotional Journey” by Patsy Burnette this year, we are in the midst of the prophets, Jeremiah, Habakkuk, Ezekiel. The words, the messages God gives to these men to, then, give to the children of God are hard words to hear let alone to have to speak for God. They hold lesson-upon-lesson for the Children of God as well as for readers such as myself. Oh, that I will relearn once again!

Throughout the prophecies, God calls His children names that I find hard to stomach. Below these Scriptures, you will see these words and their definitions. None of them are a good, positive description for anyone. We should want to be the opposites.

I will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a reproach, a byword, a taunt, and a curse in all the places where I shall drive them. Jeremiah 24:9. ESV

“You shall be a reproach and a taunt, a warning and a horror, to the nations all around you, when I execute judgments on you in anger and fury, and with furious rebukes—I am the LORD; I have spoken—when I send against you the deadly arrows of famine, arrows for destruction, which I will send to destroy you, and when I bring more and more famine upon you and break your supply of bread. I will send famine and wild beasts against you, and they will rob you of your children. Pestilence and blood shall pass through you, and I will bring the sword upon you. I am the LORD; I have spoken.” Ezekiel 5:15-17

“For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: As my anger and my wrath were poured out on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so my wrath will be poured out on you when you go to Egypt. You shall become an execration, a horror, a curse, and a taunt. You shall see this place no more. The LORD has said to you, O remnant of Judah, ‘Do not go to Egypt.’ Know for a certainty that I have warned you this day that you have gone astray at the cost of your lives. For you sent me to the LORD your God, saying, ‘Pray for us to the LORD our God, and whatever the LORD our God says, declare to us and we will do it.’ And I have this day declared it to you, but you have not obeyed the voice of the LORD your God in anything that he sent me to tell you. Now therefore know for a certainty that you shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence in the place where you desire to go to live.” Jeremiah 42:18-22

“Why do you provoke me to anger with the works of your hands, making offerings to other gods in the land of Egypt where you have come to live, so that you may be cut off and become a curse and a taunt among all the nations of the earth? Have you forgotten the evil of your fathers, the evil of the kings of Judah, the evil of their wives, your own evil, and the evil of your wives, which they committed in the land of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?” Jeremiah 44:8-9

The boldface words in the Scriptures above are defined below:

זְוָעָה. zᵊvāʿâ. a horror, an object of terror, a trembling, an object of trembling

רַע. raʿ. evil, distress, misery, injury, calamity

מָשָׁל. māšāl. properly, a pithy maxim, usually of metaphorical nature; hence, a simile (as an adage, poem, discourse):—byword, like, parable, proverb

שְׁנִינָה. šᵊnînâ. sharp word, sharp (cutting) word, taunt, gibe

קְלָלָה. qᵊlālâ. curse, vilification, execration

חֶרְפָּה. ḥerpâ. disgrace, rebuke, reproach(-fully), shame

אָלָה. ‘ālâ. an imprecation:—curse, cursing, execration, oath, swearing.

שַׁמָּה. šammâ. ruin; by implication, consternation:—astonishment, desolate(-ion), waste

Just reading these definitions makes me realize that when I walk against the very grain of God, I must sound like fingernails on a chalkboard. (Since chalkboards are now white boards, the sound will not be the same for those of you who are not familiar with that high-pitched screech that fingernails make on those black boards, but know that it is an extremely harsh, high-pitched screech. Makes your spine chill.) I look and sound like a taunt toward all that God has taught me. I am a reproach, a disgrace to the God Whom I love and desire to be obedient. Plus, I no longer look like Jesus Whom I am supposed to represent as I grow more and more into His image. I should be ashamed. When others look at me, who do they see? A belligerent, angry, lying, Jesus? NO, it is Linda in that reprehensible image, but if I represent Jesus as a Christ-following human being, then I ought to look like Him and not anyone or anything else!

I have the desire to walk peaceably with God, but I stray now and again. The Israelites strayed and yet God loved them dearly. He loves them in the midst of their disobedience just as He does us. That does not mean that God ignores them and lets them get away with all sorts of misdeeds. He wants obedience to Him from all of us who call themselves His. God is merciful and He is just. He punishes just as a father punishes his child when the child has disobeyed.

“Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will set my face against you for harm, to cut off all Judah. I will take the remnant of Judah who have set their faces to come to the land of Egypt to live, and they shall all be consumed. In the land of Egypt they shall fall; by the sword and by famine they shall be consumed. From the least to the greatest, they shall die by the sword and by famine, and they shall become an oath, a horror, a curse, and a taunt. I will punish those who dwell in the land of Egypt, as I have punished Jerusalem, with the sword, with famine, and with pestilence, so that none of the remnant of Judah who have come to live in the land of Egypt shall escape or survive or return to the land of Judah, to which they desire to return to dwell there. For they shall not return, except some fugitives.” Jeremiah 44:11-14

Dearest Father, I pray for each of us who love You so and want to walk in the obedience which You have called us. May we hear Your promptings, Your warnings when we wander, when we stray away from where You desire us to be. May I heed Your warnings, Lord. May I seek Your guidance in all things. Forgive me, Father, when I ignore You, when I am remiss in being mindful towards You. I know You never stop loving me, yet You want me where You want me. Please open my ears to hear. Open my eyes to see. May the eyes and ears of my heart be ready to see and hear You and be ready to follow those plans that You have always had for me… since before I was created. Guide me onto Your path and away from mine, Lord. I pray in the powerful Name of Jesus. Amen.

Bugs Bunny taunting Elmer Fudd @ Wallpaper Cave

Quote/Photo of Ravi Zacharias about Justice: QuoteFancy

Pondering

For Who is God?

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

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

Worthy to be praised! Hallelujah! and Amen!

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

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

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

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

He said, “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation,
my stronghold and my refuge,
my savior; you save me from violence.
2 Samuel 22:2-3

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

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

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

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

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

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2 Samuel 22:32 photo/graphic @ Daily Verses

Commentary on 2 Samuel by Matthew Henry

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

2 Samuel 22:4 photo/graphic @ Rachel Wojo

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

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

Psalm 18:46 photo/graphic @ knowing-jesus

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

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

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

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

The Wisdom of the Cross

Christ crucified!

The Wisdom of God

For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom,… 1 Corinthians 1:22

“Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’” Deuteronomy 4:6

From the Old Testament, we are able to look at the reasons why the Jews required signs from Jesus. The commandments, statutes, the Law was what they were taught and followed. The Jews expected their Messiah to be a deliverer, a king, a conqueror of all their enemies.

The Greeks were surrounded by philosophers, scientists, teachers who were expounding theories, knowledge, science. Thus the Greeks sought the wisdom of man, worldly wisdom.

from C. H. Spurgeon-A Sermon (No. 132), May 17, 1857: “Now,” says the apostle, “both these objections are untenable and unreasonable. If you suppose that the Jew requires a sign, that sign is given him: Christ is the power of God. The miracles that Christ wrought upon earth were signs more than sufficiently abundant; and if the Jewish people had but the will to believe, they would have found abundant signs and reasons for believing in the personal acts of Christ and his apostles.” And let the Greeks say, “I can not believe, because I require a wise system: O Greek, Christ is the wisdom of God. If thou wouldst but investigate the subject, thou wouldst find in it profoundness of wisdom-a depth where the most gigantic intellect might be drowned. It is no shallow gospel, but a deep, and a great deep too, a deep which passeth understanding. Thine objection is ill-founded; for Christ is the wisdom of God, and his gospel is the highest of all sciences. If thou wishest to find wisdom, thou must find it in the word of revelation.”

Both groups could not see past a man who was dressed in a simple robe, sandals, walked everywhere, died a criminal’s death, carried His own cross much of the way. He looked weak. He did not look, speak, or act like the person of God that they thought He should be. Thus they wrote Him off as a nobody, certainly not their Messiah.

…but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1:23-24

…and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in Whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:2b-3

Consider the apostles who were preaching the Gospel, teaching Christ, the Cross….fishermen, dressed as Jesus, simple, probably dirty. They were hard to believe by those who considered themselves better than these men.

For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.
1 Corinthians 1:17-21

And the Lord said:
“Because this people draw near with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
while their hearts are far from me,
and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men, therefore, behold, I will again
do wonderful things with this people,
with wonder upon wonder;
and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.”
Isaiah 29:13-14

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 1 Corinthians 1:26-29

from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians: Ministers should consider themselves sent and set apart more especially to that service in which Christ will be most honoured and the salvation of souls promoted, and for which they are best fitted, though no part of their duty is to be neglected. The principal business Paul did among them was to preach the gospel, the cross, Christ crucified. Ministers are the soldiers of Christ, and are to erect and display the banner of the cross. He did not preach his own fancy, but the gospel-the glad tidings of peace, and reconciliation to God, through the mediation of a crucified Redeemer. This is the sum and substance of the gospel. Christ crucified is the foundation of all our joys. By his death we live. This is what Paul preached, what all ministers should preach, and what all the saints live upon.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

The wisdom of the cross is Christ, Christ crucified, died, buried, resurrected. The wisdom of the cross is God’s unveiling of the strength and wisdom of Christ. My sin is forgiven; my foolishness becomes wise in Christ; my filthy rags become clean by the Blood of Christ. I am redeemed, justified, and sanctified (growing in holiness) in Christ Alone. I come to the Cross in humility.

from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians: To those who are called and saved he is the wisdom of God, and the power of God. Those who are called and sanctified, who receive the gospel, and are enlightened by the Spirit of God, discern more glorious discoveries of God’s wisdom and power in the doctrine of Christ crucified than in all his other works. Note, Those who are saved are reconciled to the doctrine of the cross,and led into an experimental acquaintance with the mysteries of Christ crucified.

Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 9:23-24

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

Father, I ask for Your guidance and covering upon me as I learn how to walk in the shadow of this glorious and horrific cross. It is both, yet the One Who died upon it rose again and lives for me, for all those He has called unto Himself. I stand before You, Lord, asking for boldness and humbleness in order to preach the Gospel, Christ crucified. I do not want to be a stumbling block to anyone so please help me walk in this world as Your sheep, as Your disciple, as Yours. May the wisdom of the Cross be clearly relevant today. Soften the hardened hearts and open the eyes of those hearts…that they would see You for the Beauty and Holiness that You are. May those opened eyes see the wisdom of the Cross. In the Name of my crucified Christ, I pray. Amen.

Photo of cross: Cross-on-Hill

from C. H. Spurgeon: A Sermon (No. 132) Delivered on Sabbath Morning, May 17, 1857, by the REV. C.H. SPURGEON at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens. “Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”– 1Cr 1:24

“The Wisdom of the Cross” Photo with 1 Corinthians 1:23-24 @ CrossMap

1 Corinthians 1:20 photo/graphics @ Knowing-Jesus.com

God Doesn’t Call the Qualified“: Pinterest

from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians

“Boast in the Lord” photos/graphics: Pursuing Holiness

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Trust in…Trust is…the LORD

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:7-8

Oh, may we place our trust in the LORD at all times at this time of COVID-19. May we trust Him, our Creator, our Protector, our Guide for He is our very All in all, All of all. He is Trust itself. May we stand firmly in Him like that tree planted by the water’s edge. May we not fear, nor be anxious. May this be so, LORD Jesus. In Your healing and powerful Name, I pray. Amen.

We are in territory that this world has not seen in many-a-year. Most of us now living on this earth have never experienced anything like this virus, nor the many repercussions that are sprouting up with it. COVID-19 is not particular about who it attacks. People around the world in most age-brackets are falling ill to this CoronaVirus; many are dying. Many have lost jobs. Countries, states, cities are closing down, quarantining their populations. Many people are living in fear. Many have been so panicked by the huge changes in our way of life that buying and hoarding was out-of-control and may still be. Many do not know where their next meal comes from; far more than usual are in the food bank lines. Those living with the virus and recovering at home may be afraid, There are so many unknowns about this virus. My heart breaks for those who cannot see a loved one because they live in a quarantined/closed nursing home, assisted living, hospital. And as I write this, some states and countries around the world are beginning to “reopen” so they can restart the economy. We are all living in new territory these days.

TRUST…

Who is my trust?

Below is Jeremiah 17:7 in a few different versions of the Bible. As you read, notice the way the tiny word “is” (the second phrase) changes the way we may look at the word “trust:”

Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. KJV

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
And whose hope is the LORD.”
NKJV

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD
And whose trust is the LORD.”
NASB

…whose hope the LORD IS!

…whose hope is the LORD!

…whose trust is the LORD!

IS the LORD!

…who trusts in the Lord…whose trust is the Lord. Those two two-letter words say a lot in those two phrases. Yes, I trust in the Lord, leaning upon the One Who is faithful and true. He stands with me through it all. I trust in the LORD for He cares for and about me. I trust in the LORD because I am learning just Who the LORD is.

When my trust and hope is the Lord, I am trusting the One Who is Trust. He is worthy to be praised for I know that I have placed my faith in Jesus and know that He is the Only One Who is completely trustworthy, the Trust I count upon. As I come to know Him more and more, I come to trust Him more and more. I stand upon the character of God in order that I may throw my whole self into His arms.

He is Hope. He is Salvation. He is Peace. He is Love. He is Trust. He is all that the Bible says He is! Understanding Who the LORD is allows us to depend upon the One Whom is dependable, trust the One Who is trustworthy. This is Who God is!

The Psalms often tell us vividly Who God is! The more we know Him, the more we can trust Him.

The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed,
stronghold in times of trouble
. Psalm 9:9

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in Whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:2

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1

But I will sing of Your strength;
I will sing aloud of Your steadfast love in the morning.
For You have been to me a fortress
and a refuge in the day of my distress.
Psalm 59:16

But let all who take refuge in You rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy,
and spread Your protection over them,
that those who love Your name may exult in You. For You bless the righteous, O LORD; You cover him with favor as with a shield.
Psalm 5:11-12

Let us return, for just a moment, to Jeremiah 17:7…

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose trust is the LORD.
Jeremiah 17:7

Matthew Henry comments upon verse 7:

Concerning the abundant satisfaction which those have, and will have, who make God their confidence, who live by faith in His providence and promise, who refer themselves to Him and His guidance at all times and repose themselves in Him and His love in the most unquiet times. Observe, the duty required of us – to trust in the Lord, to do our duty to Him and then depend upon Him to bear us out in doing it – when creatures and second causes either deceive or threaten us, either are false to us or fierce against us, to commit ourselves to God as all-sufficient both to fill up the place of those who fail us and to protect us from those who set upon us. It is to make the Lord our hope, His favour the good we hope for and His power the strength we hope in. Matthew Henry

If you do not know Jesus Christ, I pray you will come to trust Him with your life, your family, the food and water you need. I pray you will seek His face for He is the Only One Who can provide, heal, comfort and love you even though you are a sinner; we all are. He forgives and loves us unconditionally. His provision and healing may come in ways you are not expecting nor wanting but He knows His plans for you.

Let him who walks in darkness
and has no light
trust in the name of the LORD
and rely on his God.
Isaiah 50:10

Father God, You are everything to me. Everything! You are my Trust, my Hope, my Anchor, my Joy, my Love, my Peace. In the midst of this pandemic, I can hold onto You and know that You are my All. In the midst of quarantine, You are Comfort in which I lie. You are Strength when I am weak. You are the very Breath, giving me life. You are the Living Water, taking away my thirst forever. May I be firmly planted near the waters of life, like that tree. Father, I pray You show Yourself real to those who need Your life-giving waters. May they have eyes to see, ears to hear. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Jeremiah 17:7: Year 27

C. H. Spurgeon quote: https://www.cyndispivey.com/2017/06/04/trusting-god-through-difficult-seasons/

God’s Character: https://www.churchplanting.com/planting-churches-out-of-the-whole-character-of-god/#.XqXpES-z1MM

Corrie ten Boom’s quote: https://www.keepinspiring.me/20-quotes-to-build-trust/

“Trusting a Savior…”: Christopher B. Munday @ Deseret Books

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Make Ready

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

Many versions read:

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

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

… placing “the Lord” at the end.

 

But many other translations read:

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

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

 

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

“…, to make ready …” 

ἑτοιμάζω

hetoimazō

STRONGS NT 2090

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

 

“… prepared.”

κατασκευάζω

kataskeuazō

STRONGS NT 2680

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

 

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

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

The external layer of a person is prepared:

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

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

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

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

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

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

white-apricot-blossoms-and-red-flower-buds

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

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

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

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

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

God's Word · Pondering

Kenneth

Kenneth

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
they comfort me.  Psalm 23:4

My sweet Kenneth left this earth in the early hours of Thursday, June 7th, 2018.  Peace, love and awe were written all over his face and in the ways of his still hands…truly, he showed me the way he died.  A beautiful moment, yet so hard on my heart.

He has left this harsh world for the glories of heaven.

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

In January, 2018, Kenneth became very ill, was transported to Houston Methodist Hospital where Diffuse Large B-Cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma was diagnosed. He chose hospice versus treatment and we were blessed with five precious months! Kenneth did all he could to make sure this house was in order for me. He taught me things I would need to do and know; had me take notes for repetitive chores that I will need to remember.

We spent time talking of life and death and of our faith in Christ. We loved one another dearly and deeply. We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary on May 22. We had a wonderful and special marriage. I am so very grateful to God for my husband, Kenneth.

Kenneth served in the US Army as a Sergeant E-5, 3rd/506th Airborne (Combat) Infantry, 101st Airborne Division. He served in Vietnam from 4/1968-4/1969. This cancer has been identified as possibly caused by exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
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Agent Orange

Our Vietnam War Veterans may not have been welcomed home rightly upon their return to US soil, but Kenneth received a beautiful welcome into his heavenly Home by Jesus Christ, his Lord and Savior.

Praising the Lord in my sorrow,  I ask You, Father, to watch over my steps, to guide me each day as I follow You .  Thank You for the sweet five months Kenneth and I had together at the end of his life.  I so praise You, Lord, for the peace that I saw upon my sweet Kenneth’s face.  I loved him so and thank You for the 25 years we had together.  I have You for Eternity and what a glorious thought that is to my heart.  I will look to You as my Husband and Redeemer, Lord, for You say in Isaiah 54:5:  

For your Maker is your husband,
The LORD of hosts is His name;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel;
He is called the God of the whole earth.

And You care for and about the widow, as I am one now:

Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive; and let thy widows trust in Me.  Jeremiah 49:11

I pray in the Name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, Amen. 

 

beblacksig

 

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Praising God from Whom all Blessings Flow

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Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.  Psalm 37:5

Have you ever dreamed of making a change in your life?  Dreamed about it for years on end?  Thought about it so much that the dream changed again and again?  That has been the way for my husband and me.  We felt it was time for us to move to a place where the allergens would be less, different, and the air cleaner and fresher.  We wanted a place where we, as seniors, could feel a bit more at ease regarding finances, weather, taxes, and other senior concerns.

Last Spring, we finally felt that it was time to make this move.  The older we were getting, the more difficult this seemed and we thought we better do this now or we wouldn’t have the ability to move.  We prayed, knowing that God would lead us.  He took New Mexico and Georgia out of the running and headed us to East Texas…Nacogdoches, Lufkin.  We would sell our home in Portland, TX which was tough….leaving the home my husband built himself for us 23 years ago.  We lived in it all but one year of our marriage.

And those who know Your name will put their trust in You,
For You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.  Psalm 9:10

So we began the sorting out, having a garage sale and, at the end, a moving sale.  One day, Ken was in the yard taking photos of our home for we were going to sell our home “by owner.”  A car stopped; the man asked Ken if, by chance, he was going to be selling this house?  God brought a man by at that very moment who became the new owner of this home.  G appreciated the beautiful craftsmanship my husband had put into the cabinetry throughout the house and the quality workmanship that went into the building of this home.  G bought a lot covered with lovely trees, Mesquite, Live Oak, Anacua, Arizona Ash, surrounding this home.  We never even listed it.  Escrow went smoothly.

For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done,
I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.
Psalm 92:4

My husband’s two sisters opened their doors to us…places to stay between looking for a new town, finding a home, and escrow.  Just where were we going to live?

Praise Him for His mighty deeds;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.  Psalm 150:2

After perusing the internet for homes for sale in East Texas, we found more homes in our price range in Lufkin.  A neighbor in Portland guided us to a great realtor.  We like the town of 35,000 pop. with just about everything we could possibly need or want.  We found a house that is now our home.  It is close to just about everything we need.  God stopped us from buying some homes.  We could see He was with us.

Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving,
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.  Psalm 95:2

Our new home has issues but we feel God giving us strength and ability to handle them, doing the work ourselves or hiring help when we need that too.

It is good to give thanks to the LORD
And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;

To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning
And Your faithfulness by night,….  Psalm 92:1-2

We are finding doctors, feeling God’s direction in that as well.  We sense His closing doors when we are headed the wrong way.

Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah.  Psalm 62:8

This truly has been a journey where we have depended upon His guidance…

…a journey where we have had to walk with blind trust, with our eyes on Him.

In God, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid what can mere man do to me Psalm 56:4

We are so blessed.

Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
His understanding is beyond measure.  Psalm 147:5

 

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When thoughts began to rise for this post, the following was nothing we could have known, although God knew.   Hurricane Harvey was yet to develop in the Gulf:

Our home was in Portland, TX.  Hurricane Harvey just devastated Rockport, Port Aransas, Aransas Pass, Ingleside, all small towns on one side of Portland and wreaked havoc in Corpus Christi which is on the other side of Portland.  We were not there, although we have friends there so feel very connected.  Our friends are okay.  Some houses not, but the lives of those we know are safe.  We had desired to move away from the coast more and more as we aged.  The older one gets, the harder it is to board up, evacuate, and manage through the aftermath of a hurricane.  Our former home made it through the storm in tact, but most of the trees in the yard lost at least one major limb.  G shared that with us Saturday.  We were grateful to God for keeping G safe and his new home in one piece.  We prayed for him in these regards.

Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.  1 Thessalonians 5:24

We feel so blessed to be here and not there.

For the LORD is a great God
And a great King above all gods,

In Whose hand are the depths of the earth,
The peaks of the mountains are His also.

The sea is His, for it was He Who made it,
And His hands formed the dry land.  Psalm 95:3-5

God gave us direction and we obeyed.  Thank You, Jesus.  Thank You. 

O LORD of hosts,
How blessed is the man who trusts in You!  Psalm 84:12

Father God, You have blessed us beyond measure.  We are continually learning to trust You, knowing that You know the very path You wish for us.  You keep us sheltered under Your wings.  You hold us near in all times.  May we remember these things, that we would turn to You for all of our needs.  We have seen Your mighty works in our lives so beautifully and clearly.  Oh, LORD, You are our All.  

morningworship-63040412-8

From the rising of the sun to its setting,
the Name of the LORD
is to be praised!
 
Psalm 113:3

May I walk near to You and know Your still, small voice.  May I sense Your very Presence with me.  Thank You, LORD. 

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD!  Psalm 150:6

I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.  My soul will make its boast in the LORD; the humble will hear it and rejoice.  O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together… Psalm 34:1-3

In the Strong Name of Jesus, I am so grateful.  Amen. 

beblacksig

 

 

 

 

 

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

The God of Peace Carries Me

May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.  Romans 15:33

philippians4_9-calmseas

These few months have brought such change for us, such blessings, such stress, such hard work, and such joy.  We have sold our home of 23 years, traveled to the area we hoped to move, found a house, set that into escrow, traveled to relatives where we could stay for a while in Texas and Alabama, and back for escrow closing.  In the midst of those things, we ordered inspections, emailed and talked with our realtor often, set start-up dates for utilities, and so much more.  The sweet house we bought was not left clean so we had major cleaning to do while we lived in it…in order to live in it!  We moved in with two mattresses and eventually two patio chairs.  Two weeks later the POD was delivered and emptied.  Now we are unpacking boxes.

For two almost-seventy year olds, we are making it, box-by-box.  In between, we are changing banks, getting new driver’s licenses, buying new things that were old and decrepit, but still needed.  We love our multi-cultural neighborhood, this sweet town of 35,000, and the lovely, tall, green creations of God called pine and oak trees.  The lushness of East Texas is special after living on the Gulf Coast for so many years.  I always wanted to return to Oregon but this part of Texas will replace that desire.  The Pacific Ocean will just have to wait on my arrival for another day…probably a heavenly day.

Amidst all of this, God is my constant.  He is my still, strong source of peace.  He is the God of peace.

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

Such gifts we are given in our belief.  No matter what the circumstances look like, the calm waters of Christ surround me and still my spirit.

isaiah26_3

You keep him in perfect peace

whose mind is stayed on You,

because he trusts in You.

Isaiah 26:3

Father God, thank You for this blessed time that Ken and I have shared as we looked to begin a new chapter in our life together.  We have shared our time with two precious sisters of Ken’s.  We have been led by You to a neighborhood that is surely blessing us already.  We trust You for all of our needs in these times.  Please direct our steps.  We lean on You for comfort and strength.  We rest in You for the peace that passes all understanding.  And it truly is beyond comprehension, LORD, but it is of You and I know that.  I love You so and have felt Your Presence all the way…over the miles we’ve traveled…in the steps taken.  You are the God of Peace in Whom I trust.  In the name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen. 

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

The Way of Holiness – Isaiah 35

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God speaks to us through His Word.  I continue to ponder this highway that I am on.  I feel His nearness, His love for me, His joy as I learn from Him.  I walk the road with God.

Isaiah 35:1-10:

1 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God. 

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you.  John 15:16

Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. …. So there was much joy in that city.  Acts 8:5, 8

I desire to abide in You, my LORD, being obedient and submissive to You.  I want to be a fruit bearer, honoring You with joy and song.

Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”

“But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”  Luke 22:32

Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.  1 Thessalonians 5:14

May I serve You, my LORD, with boldness and strength, acceptably, with reverence and awe.

5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 6 then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.  For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

“…to open their eyes so they may turn from darkness to light, and from the power of satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in Me.’  Acts 26:18

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.  Psalm 46:4

Oh, LORD, You are my All in all.  You are the One Who turns me from darkness to light, from blind to seeing, from deaf to hearing.  You set me apart for Yourself.  I am so very grateful.  May the springs flow through me as I walk in this world…that I would be Your witness, Your light, Your salt.

8 And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it.  It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there.

Thus says the LORD: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. ….”  Jeremiah 6:16a

This highway stands before me.  I ask for the ancient paths and walk upon them for this is the good way.  I know I shall find rest there.  Thank You, LORD.

10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their Shepherd, and He will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”  Revelation 7:17

I praise You, LORD.  I sing and rejoice for I know You.  You are my Guide.  You are the Way of Holiness.  Hallelujah!  and Amen!

 
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Photo 1:  Patricio Hurtado from Chile:  https://pixabay.com/en/hills-flowering-desert-flowers-960126/  CCO Public Domain (from Pixabay)

Photo 2:  Stas Kulesh, a Russian travel photographer living in Auckland, New Zealand.  https://hd.unsplash.com/photo-1451817045432-8c40f15299f9; https://unsplash.com/@kulesh; licensed under Creative Commons Zero
Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

A Highway

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And a highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
the unclean shall not pass over it.
It shall belong to those who walk on the way;
even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.  Isaiah 35:8

A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.  Isaiah 40:3

Father God, I want to walk in Your ways, the highway of holiness.  You are Holiness that I seek and desire.  You are Love and Righteousness.  You are Holiness.  You make me whole.  When I walk on this highway, I walk toward You.  I so want to be wholly Yours, and walk the remainder of this life on earth in holiness. 

But my people have forgotten Me;
they make offerings to false gods;
they made them stumble in their ways,
in the ancient roads,
and to walk into side roads,
not the highway,  making their land a horror,
a thing to be hissed at forever.
Everyone who passes by it is horrified
and shakes his head.  Jeremiah 18:15-16

I do not want to wander from this highway yet I am human.  I have; I do; I will.  I have made and will make mistakes and I do error.  Yet, LORD, I do not want to.  You have forgiven me of my many past wrong steps.  I seek Your face, asking forgiveness for these paths I walk down when they are not Yours.  Thank You for loving me back into Your arms, my Precious Father. 

“Set up road markers for yourself;
make yourself guideposts;
consider well the highway,
the road by which you went.
Return, O virgin Israel,
return to these your cities.”  Jeremiah 31:21

I read Your Word, Father, as It is truly filled with the road markers that You have set before me.  I may wander off the highway, yet I want to be able to find You and Your way no matter what happens, no matter which way I turn.  I seek You and am learning to be quiet so that I may hear Your still and small voice, for I want to know You in the beauty of Who You are.  You are my God.  In the dark of night when the highway is black and there is no moonlight, I want to know that I am on Your path for me, for my life.   

But according to His promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.  Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by Him without spot or blemish, and at peace.  2 Peter 3:13-14

With anticipation, with joy, and with expectancy, I continue taking step after step.  Today, I desire to stay in this very moment with You, my LORD.  Tomorrow, I want to walk beside You on Your road for me. 

But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.  Romans 6:17-18

God, You have transformed my heart, beginning with my conversion to be Your daughter in Christ Jesus.  I walk as closely to You as I can.  I hope to stay near You from this moment on.  When I stray, LORD, please draw me near.  I sense Your strength as I am drawn under the shadow of Your wing, into the cleft of the rock.  I want to grow in love and righteousness, live according to Your Word, and be pleasing to You now and for always.  In the Powerful Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen. 

But this command I gave them: ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’  Jeremiah 7:23

Amen and Amen. 

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Photo 1: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7895628@N03/2807135427; “Endless Road” via http://photopin.com;  licensed under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

Photo 2:  Stas Kulesh, a Russian travel photographer living in Auckland, New Zealand.  https://hd.unsplash.com/photo-1451817045432-8c40f15299f9; https://unsplash.com/@kulesh; licensed under Creative Commons Zero