Commit — One Word 2016

Commit300IMG_1519

Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in Him, and He will act.  Psalm 37:5

גָּלַל

galal

a primitive root; to roll (literally or figuratively):—commit, remove, roll (away, down, together), seek occasion, trust, wallow

To roll: a reproach being rolled off or removed from someone:

Take away from me scorn and contempt,
for I have kept your testimonies.  Psalm 119:22

To roll:  one’s ways and works rolled onto (committed to, entrusted to) someone (especially God):

Commit your work to the LORD,
and your plans will be established.   Proverbs 16:3

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

Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.”  Matthew 16:24

ἀπαρνέομαι

aparneomai

to deny

to affirm that one has no acquaintance or connection with someone

to forget one’s self, lose sight of one’s self and one’s own interests

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

Commitment to Jesus Christ is a lifetime commitment, one which requires time, work, and determination.  Commitment also requires faith, trust, hope.

Commitment can build faith and trust, and can develop character.

I made a commitment to Christ Jesus July 17, 1993.  I have left my cross on many-a-path since then, yet have picked it up again and again.  I have not stopped following Jesus, but, when I relinquished my cross those times, I would be singing la-ti-da without a full commitment.  I thought I was denying myself, yet I was denying the fact that I had even dropped my cross.

Commitment feels rather scary.  Yet I know that I am heaven bound because I laid my trust and hope in the One and Only Lord Jesus, the One Who came to this earth to save me, Who died for me, and Who was resurrected for me.  He will return for me one day.

In 1993, I chose to marry my husband and am so very committed to this wonderful man, to our marriage, to our walk with Jesus.  I am not afraid of this earthly marriage.

‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’  So they are no longer two but one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”  Mark 10:7-9

I am wholly committed to Jesus, following Him as He has called me.   LORD, I will do my best.  I thank You for picking me up when I fall and for loving me when I am wayward.  I am still Yours.   

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  As it is written, “For Your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:35-39

“Being killed all the day long….”  Teach me, LORD, Your way in this life.  I am not of this world, but am in it.  I want to be separate.  I want to be the sojourner in this strange land because I am Yours. 

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

Jesus prayed for His own (John 17), committed them/us to His Father:

When Jesus had spoken these words, He lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son that the Son may glorify You, since You have given Him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom You have given Him. …. “I have manifested Your Name to the people whom You gave Me out of the world. Yours they were, and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.  Now they know that everything that You have given Me is from You.  For I have given them the words that You gave Me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.  I am praying for them. …. I do not ask that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.  Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.  …. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know You, I know You, and these know that You have sent Me. I made known to them Your Name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which You have loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

I want to memorize all of this prayer this year and know the very love that Jesus has for me.  I want to know it deeply.  I want to delve into The Word, Jesus Christ, to know Him more and more.  I am recommitting my life, Jesus, to You.  My life is Yours.  I am Your sheep. You are my Shepherd.  I am Your child.  You are my Father, my Abba Father.  I want to be obedient to You.  I am wholly Yours.  Guide my every step.  Please hold me near.  Forgive me when I stray.  In Your Name, I pray.  Amen. 

befuschiasig

 

 

Anna Comes

And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.  She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.  She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.  And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of Him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.       Luke 2:36-38

ὥρα

hōra

day, hour, instant, moment, season

“at that very hour”

Anna lived in the temple.  Her life was now devoted to God in prayer and fasting.  Anna ‘just happened’ to arrive at that place where Mary and Joseph had brought Jesus to present Jesus to the Lord.  This was at the time of purification.

Anna arrived at that moment, in that instant, and in that place where Simeon had already come by the Holy Spirit.

Father God, this woman named Anna has come to Jesus and knows Who He is.  Father, she could only know Your Son because Your Holy Spirit had given her the gift of knowledge at that moment.  She was expecting You to send the Messiah to and for her people.  She knew because she believed…she trusted…she spent time with You every day and knew You so beautifully.  Oh, LORD, how most precious is Your servant.    

προσδέχομαι

prosdechomai

to receive to one’s self, to admit, to give access to one’s self

to await (with confidence or patience):—accept, allow, look (wait) for, take

to expect: the fulfillment of promises

The phrase (“all who were waiting”) from other versions:

“them that looked”

“had been waiting expectantly”

“who were looking forward”

“who were looking”

For to us a Child is born,
to us a Son is given;
and the government shall be upon His shoulder,
and His name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6

God foretold of His coming.  Anna believed.

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for Me
One Who is to be ruler in Israel,
Whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days.  Micah 5:2

Anna read God’s Word and believed this Truth, confirming God’s gift of redemption.  Hallelujah!

I know that Jesus came.  I believe.  I read God’s Word now and try to understand the words God has given me.  No matter what my head understanding may be, my heart does understand.  I do look up.  I wait.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession who are zealous for good works.  Titus 2:11-14

Father, I wait.  I look up.  I know a little.  I am so filled with gratitude for the Gift of Your Son.  I know Him as my Lord and Savior.  I know Him by Your Word.  I know Him because He is my Shepherd and I am His sheep.  I know His voice.  I look up.  I wait.  Anna knew that many were waiting…waiting for their redemption. 

λύτρωσις

lytrōsis

a ransoming, redemption

deliverance, esp. from the penalty of sin

He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of His people He will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken.  Isaiah 25:8

Anna knew her God and knew His promises.  She awaited His coming.  And once she saw the Christ, she spoke God’s  Truth to all she could.

Father, You have given me another insight through Anna.  I am so blessed to discover Your Truth in Your Word by Your Holy Spirit.  As Anna was bold, may I become bold to spread the Good News to all I encounter.  Your love for us, whether Gentile or Jew, is so powerful and kind.  I pray that Your Gift be received by all…by ALL.  I have received this Gift from You, yet I wait for His second coming.  I wait.  I look nigh.  I expect…for my belief in Jesus is whole.  It is more than enough.  I pray in the Name of Your Son, Jesus.  Amen.

“‘…and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”  Luke 3:6

images

 

BW sig dark blue

 

 

 

Painting–Simeon’s Song of Praise by Aert de Gelder, 1700-1710/Public Domain:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nunc_dimittis#/media/File:Aert_de_Gelder_-_Het_loflied_van_Simeon.jpg

Father God

To ponder…

Does God feel like a loving Father to you?  Does He feel like the kind of Father that you could crawl up in His lap and snuggle with or swing in a swing with?

family-440607_640

He is.  I know because I snuggle.  I climb into His lap.  I swing with Him.  I know that I am held firmly and securely no matter where I am with Him.  He is my Protector and the Love of my eternal life.  I must trust Him in order to sit in the vulnerable position as the child above.  I am learning to trust more and more.

For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the One Who helps you.”  Isaiah 41:13

The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.   Psalm 29:7

“Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”  Luke 18:17

Abba Father, You are the best.  You love me the way I am.  You strengthen me to do what You have called me to do and to be.  You hold me close that I know You are with me.  You teach me trust by being Who You are…my Father, my Protector, my Strength.  You are my All, Abba.  I want to learn and be the clay in Your hands.  I am sorry when I become afraid and lose my ability to trust You.  I am learning.  I thank You for Your patience with me and for being my Teacher.  I love You, Abba Father.  I pray in the Name of Jesus. Amen.

bwturq sig

Photo: by Antranias (Manfred Antranias Zimmer From Bernau am Chiemsee, Germany)  https://pixabay.com/en/family-leisure-parents-child-440607/

“Fell to the Ground”

Leaves_fallingFall may be in the air for some.  I am a bit too low in the hemisphere to have it yet, but soon…soon.  Falling is what I am writing about today.  Not the kind where I fell because I tripped or lost my balance, but a falling that occurred several times in the Bible when the Power of God was stronger than they were.

So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and *said to them, “Whom do you seek?”  They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He *said to them, “I am He.” And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them. So when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground.  John 18:4-6

After reading this chapter in John the other night, my husband and I were pondering this phrase at the end of verse 6: “and fell to the ground.”  Did they fall down and worship?  Did they fall down due to a moment of realization?  Why did they fall down?

Being the research librarian that I am, I looked up this phrase in the Blue Letter Bible in a number of versions and then checked the Greek and Hebrew.  Since the verse is in John, I will stay with the Greek for today…

πίπτω

piptō

  • descend from a higher place to a lower

    1. to fall (either from or upon)

      1. to be thrust down

    2. metaph. to fall under judgment, came under condemnation

  • to descend from an erect to a prostrate position

    1. to fall down

      1. to be prostrated, fall prostrate

      2. of those overcome by terror or astonishment or grief or under the attack of an evil spirit or of falling dead suddenly

      3. the dismemberment of a corpse by decay

      4. to prostrate one’s self

      5. used of suppliants and persons rendering homage or worship to one

      6. to fall out, fall from i.e. shall perish or be lost

      7. to fall down, fall into ruin: of buildings, walls etc.

    2. to be cast down from a state of prosperity

      1. to fall from a state of uprightness

      2. to perish, i.e come to an end, disappear, cease

        1. of virtues

      3. to lose authority, no longer have force

        1. of sayings, precepts, etc.

      4. to be removed from power by death

      5. to fail of participating in, miss a share in

Saul, who later became Paul, experiences this same fall…

As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”  Acts 9:4  (Acts 22:7)

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

At first, I was thinking that the men in John 18 fell down in worship even though they were coming to arrest Jesus, but I know that that is not so now.  They drew back and fell to the ground. (John 18:6b)  was a fall from terror or astonishment.

Other versions of the Bible replace “drew back” in John 18:6 with:

went backward

stepped back

retreated

went away backward

Matthew Henry, in his Commentary about John 18, states:  “See how he terrified them, and obliged them to retire (v. 6): They went backward, and, like men thunder-struck, fell to the ground. It should seem, they did not fall forward, as humbling themselves before him, and yielding to him, but backward, as standing it out to the utmost.”

There is fear in the meaning here…fear when Jesus proclaims Himself as “I am He,” Jesus the Nazarene…fear when a light flashed around Saul/Paul and then the voice of the Lord speaks to him.  In the verse below, there is fear when God speaks from the cloud and announces that “This is MY beloved Son….” 

Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”  While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!”  When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground and were terrified.  And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, “Get up, and do not be afraid.”  And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone.  Matthew 17:4-8

In Matthew 17, Jesus tells His disciples to “not be afraid.”  I love this because He touches them and gently prods them to get up and to let the fear go.  Does that not sound like our Lord?  Oh, YES!  He knows us and wants us to follow Him and not be afraid of Him.  It is in the knowing of Him that will ease our fears.  Spending time with Him, in His Word, in prayer, in communion, will draw us nearer.

Dear Jesus, I know that You are the One and Only LORD, the Son, the Savior.  I thank You for Your power in my life.  I am so very sorry that You went through such awful things for me, for others such as I.  But, I am so grateful that You fulfilled Scripture all the way through to this with more to come yet.  I pray I do right by You in what I say and do in this world.  If I fall down, may it be for worship and not because of fear.  I pray in Your Name.  Amen.

images.duckduckgo.com

BW sig dark blue

Help My Unbelief

mark-9_24_girl_rain
And Jesus asked his father,
“How long has this been happening to him?”  And he said, “From childhood. 

And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him.  But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 

And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’!  All things are possible for one who believes.”

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”  Mark 9:21-24

From this last sentence, this final statement of the father, two words stand out — believe and unbelief.  They are below in the Greek:

πιστεύω

pisteuō

believe

to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in

of the thing believed

to credit, have confidence

used in the NT of the conviction and trust to which a man is impelled by a certain inner and higher prerogative and law of soul

to trust in Jesus or God as able to aid either in obtaining or in doing something: saving faith

mere acknowledgment of some fact or event: intellectual faith

to entrust a thing to one, i.e. his fidelity

to be entrusted with a thing

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

ἀπιστία

apistia

unbelief

unfaithfulness, faithless

want of faith, unbelief

weakness of faith

bow-and-arrow-md

How often I have felt that I could not ask God for physical healing or for a relationship to be healed because my own heart was so amiss.  I desired to aim high for my life yet I often could not even hold the bow up, let alone shoot that arrow.  God knows my heart, yet I often feel so weak and feeble when it comes to my spiritual strength because I am trying to do something in my own strength, not His.  He wants me to come lowly and weak so He can be strong in my life.  I want that too.

But…that seems wrong.  I am supposed to be strong and handle things myself.  Or so I think!

This sentence, “I believe; help my unbelief!,” speaks seriously and directly from this father’s heart in Mark 9.  His hope and desire is for healing to happen.  He wants that more than anything.  He wants it to work.  He knows it is not up to him to make it happen. 

He says to Jesus, “…if You can….”  How often do I ask Jesus to do something, then waffle back and forth, afraid that what I asked of Him won’t happen.  Then I doubt and wonder why I even bother to ask. 

How many people are around us every day who want to know that God exists, that there is something good in this world, that Jesus is Who He says He is…and yet, at the same time, even when we have a grasp of something, believing can be so hard because we cannot touch, see, smell.  We prefer some sort of sensory affirmation.  Today, we, the doubting Thomas’, cannot touch the wound in the side of Jesus nor the nail holes in His hands and feet.  

I struggle with what is called blind faith.  How can I believe when I cannot see the One Who promises so much and loves unconditionally?  How?  Doubt and shame color my world far too often because I think I ought to be strong.  Doubt can be so real, blocking my way.

Belief can be a statement of fact (the ocean is vast, or Sally looks good in yellow).  Belief is also an acknowledgment of trust that will fly with that arrow from the bow.  When I know by the Holy Spirit that Jesus is real, that He hears me, I trust.  I trust Jesus to answer my prayers in some way, even if the answer is “No.”  I cannot see outcomes, yet by trusting, I can know that Jesus hears and knows and will answer.

Jesus is Truth and Light.  So I pray that my unbelief be helped.  I want to believe.  I want to trust.  I want that arrow to go out from my heart with guidance from God with faith to His.

Help my unbelief, O God.  Please.  In my doubt, Father, I take one step after another, moving forward in life, knowing that I have asked You for this healing.  I trust that I believe somewhere within me.  I trust that You hear my prayer and will heal my unbelief because You want me to walk with You without fear.  You want me to let You be in control of everything.  I am not to hold those reins.  That arrow is really in Your hands, isn’t it?  You line it up in the bow because You are the Archer.  Am I the arrow, Lord?  Oh!  I thank You, Father, for blessing me with insights and newness.  In the Name of Your Son, I pray.  Amen.

beblacksig

Photo/Graphic:  https://abnormalanabaptist.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/names-of-things-doubt-and-the-space-to-be/

Everything About God Says Strong

psalm93_5

Last time, I wrote of God’s justice.  It will rule one day.  His day.

Your statutes, LORD, stand firm; holiness adorns your house for endless days Psalm 93:5 NIV

קֹדֶשׁ

qodesh

sacredness, holiness, separateness, apartness, set-apartness

…of God

…of things

…of places

Your decrees are very trustworthy;
holiness befits your house,
O LORD, forevermore.  Psalm 93:5  ESV

Your testimonies are very sure;
Holiness adorns Your house,
O LORD, forever.  NKJV

Your testimonies are fully confirmed;
Holiness befits Your house,
O LORD, forevermore.  NASB

The rules you set down are completely reliable. Holiness aptly adorns your house, O LORD, forever.  NET

The sure justice that is to come stands upon the solid holiness of our God.  He is Who He says He is.  He does what He says He will do.  He is faithful and trustworthy in all and everything.  As I learn to walk in the ways of the LORD, I feel that surety in my steps because He orders them.  Everything about God is just, truthful, strong, perfect.


“The Rock, His work is perfect,

for all His ways are justice.
A God of faithfulness and without iniquity,
just and upright is He.”  Deuteronomy 32:4

 צוּר

tsuwr

rock, sharp edge, stone

Mighty One, Refuge, Protection for Israel

strength

He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity: just and right is he.  WEB

He is the Rock, His work is perfect;
For all His ways are justice,
A God of truth and without injustice;
Righteous and upright is He.  NKJV

A rock is solid and strong.  God is our Rock.  He is our Stronghold.  He is stable.  He is upright and authoritative.  That pillar above is strong and stable.  It holds up so much.

And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.  The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.  Exodus 13:21-22

עַמּוּד

`ammuwd

column, pillar, upright, platform

God, a pillar of strength.  The pillars of cloud and fire held God.  How much stronger can anything be?

Father God, You are my LORD.  You are my Rock.  You are strong and mighty.  You have brought me from the depths of darkness and have loved me into Your Light, continuing to love me into the beauty of Your Light.  Your Son is my Savior, the Light.  I am most grateful and filled with respect for He is my Salvation.  Thank You, Father, for standing firm in my weakness.  You are my Refuge where I am protected.  I know that Your justice is perfect and will come one day to this world just as I know that Your perfect way keeps me aligned with You when I obey.  Lead me to Your Rock for it is higher than I.  You are my Stronghold.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen. 

Hear my cry, O God,

listen to my prayer;

from the end of the earth I call to You

when my heart is faint.

Lead me to the rock

that is higher than I,

for you have been my refuge,

a strong tower against the enemy.  Psalm 61:1-3

BW sig dark blue

Photo: http://www.heartlight.org/gallery/1209.html

Justice For All

Lately, I have been reading about injustices that occur toward people today as well as many years, decades, even centuries ago.  It is something that just never seems to end.  As Jesus told His disciples, “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  Yet I want to fuss and say, “But why, LORD?  Why does this have to happen again and again?

In my dismay, God is so faithful and good.  I have been reading through Isaiah and when I turned to Isaiah 42 the other morning, God met me there.  He clearly showed me that He will right the wrongs and set this world back to His way one day.  I cannot even fathom His ways, yet I trust Him for His outcome.  He knows all that is going on and knows all that has gone on throughout the years.  He knows all.  How very grateful I am!  What a Mighty God we serve! 

Behold My Servant, whom I uphold,

My Chosen, in whom My soul delights;

I have put My Spirit upon Him;

He will bring forth justice to the nations.

He will not cry aloud or lift up His voice,

or make it heard in the street;

a bruised reed He will not break,

and a faintly burning wick He will not quench;

He will faithfully bring forth justice.

He will not grow faint or be discouraged

till He has established justice in the earth;

and the coastlands wait for His law.  Isaiah 42:1-4

Lesson-3-query-image-2-copy

מִשְׁפָּט

mishpat

judgment, justice, ordinance

1. judgment:

act of deciding a case

place, court, seat of judgment

process, procedure, litigation (before judges)

case, cause (presented for judgment)

sentence, decision (of judgment)

execution (of judgment)

time (of judgment)

2. justice, right, rectitude (attributes of God or man)

3. ordinance

4. decision (in law)

5.  right, privilege, due (legal)

6.  proper, fitting, measure, fitness, custom, manner, plan

God has given us His Son Who is the Servant of His Father and even us.  Yes, He came to serve.  For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”  Mark 10:45  

“Justice,” under #2 above, is defined as just, righteousness, and rectitude (a few of God’s attributes).   Rectitude means: the quality or state of being straight, moral integrity (righteousness), the quality or state of being correct in judgment or procedure.  This is our God.  His justice will be to right wrongs of time immemorial.  His justice will rid all men of sin.  And His justice will establish His Kingdom, His rule, His order.

More than forgiveness of sin for each man, more than salvation from sin for each man, more than a perfect system of social order made by man, John Oswalt says God’s justice (of Isaiah 42) is “the life-giving order which exists when the creation is functioning in accordance with the design of the Lord.”  **

Father, I am so very grateful that You are my just God and rule this world, this earth.  There is to be justice once and for always.  Oh, LORD, I praise You.  I am relieved too for these concerns of mine cause me to be anxious and You tell me not to be.  Knowing that Jesus “will faithfully [FAITHFULLY] bring forth justice” gives me such a deep breath.  Knowing that Jesus “will not grow faint or be discouraged” gives me such hope, beautiful HOPE.  Knowing Jesus will finish the job, that He will consistently be strong and encouraged “till He has established justice in the earth” makes me feel peaceful, so very PEACEFUL.  I love You, Father, for this reassurance and guidance.  May I look to You in prayer and in Your Word, in quiet moments, in calming tides for You.  You are here and will always be with me.  In the Name of Your Son, I pray.  Amen. 

 beblacksig

Graphic:  http://www.melissademing.com/page-2/isaiahs-suffering-servant/lesson-3-isaiah-42-a-song-of-justice/

**  John Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah: Chapters 40-66 in The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998), pg 110.

In His Arms

120444797_640

Psalm 146:5-10

 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,

whose hope is in the Lord his God,

6 Who made heaven and earth,

the sea, and all that is in them,

Who keeps faith forever;

Who executes justice for the oppressed,

Who gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets the prisoners free;

 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.

The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;

the Lord loves the righteous.

 The Lord watches over the sojourners;

He upholds the widow and the fatherless,

but the way of the wicked He brings to ruin.

10  The Lord will reign forever,

your God, O Zion, to all generations.

Praise the Lord!

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

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

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

Psalm 146:1-4

Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord, O my soul!

I will praise the Lord as long as I live;

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

 Put not your trust in princes,

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

When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;

on that very day his plans perish. 

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

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

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

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

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

bwdarkgreen sig

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

A Brass Fire Pole

Fire_pole
Have you ever slid down a pole at the playground, pretending to be a fireman?  Or gone to a children’s museum where they had a brass one installed from the second floor to the first, where you put on a jacket, boots, and fireman’s hat before sliding down, landing at the foot of a real fire truck sitting inside the museum?  Or have you been at the top of such a pole and been afraid to take that leap onto the pole?

One year, while teaching in Washington, D.C., I took my K-1 class to the Children’s Museum, a bus ride and short walk away from our inner city school.  (In looking for that museum online before writing this, it looks like that building is gone now. but there is a new National Children’s Museum in Prince George County, only open a year or so now.)   It was fun and delightful for the children and for me as I watched them immerse themselves in pretending, allowing their imaginations to bloom with possibilities and dreams…careers…arts…machinery and equipment…on and on.  All of this gave these young children ways to dream as well as to escape the realities of their harsh worlds of inner city violence, drugs, sex, and other hard things, for all of us, let alone little children.

children fire engineI don’t say that we need to escape our realities for our God knows right where we are.  God is there right beside us.  But, sometimes, just sometimes, we need a break from the hard things in life.  We need the comfort of a mother’s arms, the strength of a father’s stance before and beside us, the love of family and true friends.  I watched and read Kara Tippetts and her family live death on their blog, in books, on videos, in photos.  Hard stuff.  Real life.  Kara and her family had and, now, still have all those arms, the comfort, the strength, the love near them, yet when the night falls and the family is alone, they remember that Kara has gone to be with Jesus.  The children do not have their mother.  Jason’s wife is missing from his side.  Not forever.  One day, they will all be together with the LORD.  One day.  And Kara is whole now.

We are human and fear creeps in and takes over sometimes… afraid to leap forward and grab that pole … afraid to trust God Who works all things together for good to those who love Him … fear that we will not be caught when we lean back against the unknown.  Fear holds us in its grip and we can do nothing.  The brass pole stands before us and we are frozen with fear.

woman going down pole

The LORD is my Rock, and my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God, my Strength, in Whom I will trust; my Buckler, and the Horn of my salvation, and my High Tower.  Psalm 18:2

He is right there … ready to catch us …ready to hold us … ready to be All to us and for us.  We are called to trust … TRUST.

The LORD is good, a Stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in Him.  Nahum 1:7 

The child in each of us needs to slide down that brass pole right into the arms of the LORD, into His Word, into His Truth, into forgiveness, away from sin, away from all that holds us back from the beauty that God wants for each of us.  Slide … slide onto the path that He has just for each one of us … JUST.FOR.US!  Can you sense yourself taking that quick leap onto that sturdy brass pole, wrapping your arms and legs around it and just go…go…go…to God.  I can feel the strength of this pole and the love awaiting me when I reach His arms.  Yes, LORD, I am coming to You.

And He took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when He had taken him in His arms, He said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such children in My Name, receiveth Me: and whosoever shall receive Me, receiveth not Me, but Him that sent Me.  Mark 9:36-37

Safe in the arms of Jesus,
Safe on His gentle breast,
There by His love o’ershaded,
Sweetly my soul doth rest. **

Abba Father, I felt Your call upon this life of mine.  I know that You want me wholly.  Guide me away from all that defines my life as worldly, as sinful, as not-of-You.  Mold my heart to be more and more like Jesus… that I would forgive when I need to and to whom I must.  Abba Father, thank You for Your forgiveness of my many misplaced steps in this life.  I came to You as a prodigal.  You were there with arms open wide and waiting for me to step into them.  Thank You, LORD.  Thank You.  I came sliding in, at first with hesitancy, with fear, because it seems a long way to You.  I slide … I go and I come to You again and again.  Your arms are warm and filled with such love.

Father, I know this for myself.  I pray for those children whom I once taught in Washington, D.C. and ask that Your love guide them into Your arms if they are not there already.  I pray that they will recall the day at the museum and the brass pole.  For those who came down without fear, I pray they come sliding into Your arms, seeking Your face, Your forgiveness, and Your love.  For those who were afraid to go down and walked back down instead, erase any and all fear and trepidation, LORD.  I pray for family and friends who do not know You and ask the same for them whether they have played on a brass pole or not.  Give them one and may Your message be clear so that they will desire You, and only You, and come sliding to You. 

As I am sliding to You, LORD, I pray in the Holy Name of Jesus, Your Son.   Amen.  

beblacksig   

Photo: http://www.kansasfirefightersmuseum.com/main/

**Safe in the Arms of Jesus: lyrics by Fanny Jane Crosby (1820-1915), music by William Howard Doane (1832-1915)

Second Photo: by Wendy Pramik   http://www.examiner.com/article/learn-about-fire-safety-slide-down-a-pole-at-the-central-ohio-fire-museum

Fourth photo:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/jdkahn/5758603835/

 

Walk by the Spirit

galatians5_16

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  Galatians 5:16

Oh, that I walk in obedience to the LORD in ALL my steps.  But I am human and that is just not possible UNLESS I let this SELF go, placing her at the foot of the Cross and trust, TRUST, in the Holy Spirit for each and every step.  God gave me free will and I choose to pick this self up and try to do things in my own power.

I want to…

  • …walk humbly
  • …stay close
  • …live and show the fruit of the Spirit to this world in which I live in
  • …accept my inability to do these things as I am
  • …that I must be moldable and tender

 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Galatians 5:24

from Daily Help by Charles H. Spurgeon:

As a man does not make himself spiritually alive, so neither can he keep himself so.  He can feed on spiritual food, and so preserve his spiritual strength; he can walk in the commandments of the Lord, and so enjoy the rest and peace, but still the inner life is dependent upon the Spirit as much for its after existence as for its first begetting.  No man himself, even when converted, hath any power, except as that power is daily, constantly, and perpetually infused into him by the Spirit.

The motive-power of action to a believing man lies hard by the realization that God, for Christ’s sake, hath forgiven his iniquities.

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

For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.  Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.  Galatians 5:17-25

matthew18_3

And calling to Him a child, He put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Matthew 18:2-3

Abba Father, may this world dim in my mind and Your Light draw me nearer to You with each day, in each moment.  May I be the clay that You desire of me that You can mold me into the Linda that You created me to be.  May I be Yours in all ways.  I want to be a light in this world, drawing others to You who live in the darkness of this world.  I want to walk in humility as Your Spirit guides my steps.  Thank You, LORD, for Your love of this imperfect one.  …for I love You.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.  

BW sig dark blue

Daily Help (the February 19 reading) by Charles H. Spurgeon, compiled and edited by George Perry Dixon, The Family Inspirational Library, Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap, New York