Jesus Christ

It Is Written…

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Good morning, beloved,

A bit of business to attend…I’ve been getting feedback lately that it has been difficult to comment on my blog. So I’ve switched up the comment section to make it easier and smoother. Will you try it out for me and let me know? Many thanks. I am so grateful to each one of you for reading these words of mine.

A couple of years ago, the History Channel caused a stir in the Christian community with its production of the Bible miniseries. The opinions, the controversies, the arguments volleyed back and forth. Our family watched the miniseries. We enjoyed the series, honestly, not for the inaccuracies, but for the excitement. Our family had fun discussing the Old Testament together. What did they get right? What did they miss? Do you really think that’s what Moses looked like? THE ANGELS?!?!?

The stories of Moses, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph came alive. We, as a nation, saw them not just as words on a page. How often have we heard the Old Testament is so boring. It doesn’t apply to me. I don’t understand it. The God of the New Testament is much nicer, less judgement.

Jesus and the New Testament writers felt very differently than you and I. According to Pam Gillespie,

Researchers tell us that the New Testament writers make 224 direct references to the Old Testament and cite allusions to Old Testament scriptures anywhere from 600 to 1,600 times. In round numbers about 10% of the New Testament either quotes the Old directly or makes clear allusion to it. (Voices: Hearing God In A World Of Impostors New Testament, p. 45)

Let’s look at some of the ways Jesus does quote the Old Testament.

It is written

Matthew 4 reveals the temptation of Jesus. In a earlier post, I discussed the prayers of Jesus. And now, watch this chapter unfold with me.

Matthew 4

Then the Spirit led Jesus [L up; out] into the ·desert [wilderness] to be tempted [or tested] by the devil. Jesus fasted for forty days and nights[C analogous to Israel’s forty years in the desert]. After this, he was ·very hungry [famished]. The ·devil came to Jesus to tempt him [L tempter/tester came to Jesus], saying, “If you are the Son of God, ·tell [command] these rocks to ·become bread [turn into loaves].”

Jesus answered, “It is written in the Scriptures, ‘A person lives not on bread alone, but by ·everything God says [L every word that comes out of God’s mouth; Deut. 8:3].’”

Satan comes to Jesus at His weakest. Not when He is strong. Take note, my friend. When you are sick, tired, hungry, alone, I bet you can attest to the temptations yourself. Read Jesus’ response. We don’t have an emotion attached to this response. He isn’t weepy, or sad. He has an answer and it is straight from the Word. It is written…

1. Jesus knew the plan. He knew the plan because He knew the word of God.

2. Jesus knew the Word of God. How often when we are weak and frail and then under attack, words from the Bible fail to come to us? Oh, friend, we need to have His Word close to our heart and mind. If not memorized, let’s write it on notecards and keep in our back pockets or purses or wallets.

3. Jesus knew feelings from truth. We need to get this one! The mutterings of our mind compared to the truth of Scripture. NO COMPARISON. We have to line up, speak out what is going on in our mind. I’m amazed when I actually say aloud what is going on in my mind how false it can be.

Then the devil ·led [took] Jesus to the holy city [C Jerusalem] and put him on ·a high place [the highest point; the pinnacle] of the Temple. The devil said, “If you are the Son of God, ·jump [L throw yourself] down, because it is written in the Scriptures:

‘He ·has put his angels in charge of you [or will order his angels to protect you; L will command his angel concerning you].
    They will ·catch you in [lift you up with] their hands
so that you will not hit your foot on a rock [Ps. 91:11–12].’”

Jesus answered him, “It also says in the Scriptures, ‘Do not test the Lord your God [Deut. 6:16].’”

What throws me here, but doesn’t throw Jesus..the tempter knows the word of God and uses it craftily. He continues to taunt and test. Very interesting. However! Jesus knows exactly how to answer. And lest you think that only Jesus can answer Satan, let me remind you of the power of the Holy Spirit within you. And the power of the knowledge of the word of God!

·Then [Again] the devil took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and all their ·splendor [glory]. The devil said, “If you will ·bow [fall] down and worship me, I will give you all these things.”

10 Jesus said to him, “·Go away from me [Get out of here; Be gone], Satan![L For] It is written in the Scriptures, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him [Deut. 6:13].’”

I love this. Go away from me Satan. HE casts Satan away from Himself. HE asks Satan to leave. I love that. He has had enough of Satan’s wiles and temptations. And notice that each one of the passages Jesus quotes can be found in Deuteronomy. Another fascinating aspect..He chooses Law to fight Satan’s temptations. What amazes me is how Jesus fights each attack with Scripture, Satan has no real retort, no come back and so three times he tries a different front and three times he fails. What a lesson for us in our lives.

What a lesson for me today. I hope for you as well. I only have scratched the surface today. I have a busy day ahead. We have an extra couple of boys all whom are sword fighting in the basement as I type away. Later this afternoon we head to Feed My Starving Children in Libertyville. I love that place. I love serving there with my kids. So a busy day, full day. Thankful.

Thankful for the whole Scripture today. How about you, friend? How do you feel about the Old Testament? A difficult part of Scripture? DO you prefer the New Testament? Will you venture into the Old? Does your church teach the Old? I’d love to hear from you!

Prayers of Jesus

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Good morning, beloved,

We had gotten very busy. Every night packed with activities, places to take the kids, we were going in a million different directions and the important, the really important was beginning to fall away. It was amazing how what had once been habits in our family became distant memories as the nights became later and family members were tugged in opposite directions.

As all of our activities began to wind down, and we began to breath again, our Danny came into our room very late one night. He confessed that he missed our nightly times of prayer together as a family and wondered why we weren’t doing it anymore. He wasn’t sleeping as well. He missed his family.

Out of the mouths of babes.

So, we have begun again. And so we start as we mean to go on. On our bed last night, sprawled across, four very sleepy children praying with us. It’s not perfect, it’s messy. They don’t all pray. This isn’t a five hour long worship service. But we are together and we are ending the day in prayer. In fact, some complained.

Prayer. What a word. How often it slips from our mouth, right? I’ll pray for you. Can you? In times of national tragedy.. Say your prayers. What is effective prayer? We search for it. What touches the heart of God? How do we pray? Where is the best place? SO many questions.

Jesus walked this earth and in scouring the Gospels I believe we learn a blessed amount about prayer. Join me.

He worshiped His heavenly Father. Always.

Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.

Luke 3:21 Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened.. 

He went to be alone to pray. Jesus understood the necessity of time alone with the Father.

Matthew 14:23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone…

Mark 135 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.

Luke 5:16 But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.

Luke 6: 12 In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.

Luke 9: 18 Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”

In deep sorrow…

Matthew 26:39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me;nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” 42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 44 So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again.

Before eating…

Matthew 15: 36 he took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.

Matthew 2626 Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you,

Pray over others…

Matthew 19:13 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray.

How do you categorize this one? :)

Luke 9: 28 Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. 29 And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white.30 And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, 31 who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure,b]”>[b] which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him.

Teaching us to pray…

Luke 11:Now Jesus[a] was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.”And he said to them, “When you pray, say:

“Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread,b]”>[b]
and forgive us our sins,
    for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.”

One prayer I have failed to mention and one of my favorites, is the one found in John 17. This prayer of Jesus’ has most commonly been called the High Priestly Prayer.

John 17

More on this prayer soon.

For now, what has captured me is this: when didn’t Jesus pray? And if the Son of God prayed all the time how much more do I need constant communication with the Father?

Pray on. pray on…

Abounding

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Dushan Tappe, one of the suburbs of Tehran, (1899) Author: Kamal-ol-Molk.

Good morning, beloved,

Today, it’s grace that astounds me. I throw words around this blog. I write out struggles I have in my life. Rather, I hint around the roller coasters that abound in my life. My stomach settles from one coaster and life pushes me on another one. What astounds me: every time I look up, look over, look behind Jesus is there. I’m wearing my seat harness, seat belt strapped in for the ride of my life, white knuckled, and Jesus is there. For the very top of the ride, to the very lowest point, nothing can ever separate us.

As we dive back into school (the metaphors are astounding as well, yes?) , I am holding desperately to His hands. Asking God to give me, please give me, the patience, the wisdom, the sight to teach my kids. To teach them about the Word, to remember that when I start our day with the teaching of His Word, our day (while never perfect) can feel the palpable presence of His Spirit. This year I want to dedicate to teaching them about the Kings and the Prophets.

So it’s good with all my plans and ideas to remember this: I. am. loved. Period.

 Because of his love [C this phrase may go with the previous sentence], God ·had already decided to make us his own children [L predestined us for adoption] through Jesus Christ. That was what he wanted and what pleased him, 6 and it brings praise to God because of his ·wonderful[glorious] grace. God gave that grace to us freely, in ·Christ, the One he loves [L the Beloved]. 7 In ·Christ [L him] we ·are set free [have been redeemed/purchased] by ·the blood of his death [L his blood; C blood signifies his sacrificial death], and so we have forgiveness of sins. ·How rich is [or This redemption reveals the wealth of; L …according to the riches of] God’s grace, 8 which he has ·given to us so fully and freely [lavished on us]. Ephesians 1 EXB

Love. We are His kids. Grace. Free. Set free. Redeemed. Forgiven.

I take my job as teacher very seriously. I also want my house to look perfect. Ah, yes, there’s the rub. Teaching four kids at home, six people and a dog, busy schedules, the house takes a back seat. In my mind though, it brings me peace to have my house sparkling clean. So when I look around while working with the kids, I get antsy to clean up. I look around, see the piles and wonder who made that mess or that one. Frustration abounds.

I am loved.

I am set free.

So, my expectations the house being perfect, fretting about the little things does not teach my children the truths I am stating here. If I sing, Your Love Never Fails and yet, there is no hope in my speech. No laughter. No joy. What am I truly teaching? When one of my sweets goes about cleaning my Blendtec and hot soapy water shoots up like a geyser, when same child tries to make coffee and breaks the carafe, when the girl pierces her dolls ears, when their rooms look like hurricanes abound (I’m loving that word today), when laundry piles, when dishes, when books, when papers…

I am loved.

I am set free.

I can laugh. I can give grace which so freely is bestowed upon me. No chains on me. No chains on my beloveds.

You are loved.

You can be free.

Run after Him today!

Thankfuls

288. For a book that reminds me to pause, lie down and look up at the stars.

289. For another year to teach and be with my kids.

290. For the youth ministry of Village Church of Gurnee.

Pray on. Pray on. Forgiven.

 

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Thunderstorm near Pritzerbe (Germany). Photo by Mathias Krumbholz

Good morning, friend!

I want to a couple of resources that have helped me over the past night. Nighttime seems to have become a time, when quiet, where my thoughts assail me. Normally, I have listened to Focus on the Family or FamilyLife Today, but these were not available. (Don’t ask, new phone) However frustrating my phone can be, I have discovered the gift of podcasts.  I tell you what, anyone can host a podcast. Not only that, I am surprised and saddened by what gets filed under Religion and Spirituality! I think my dog might be eligible for a podcast. Sheesh.

I digress. Last night, I came to find the Daily Audio Bible. Lovely. Just lovely. Listening to different sections of the Bible (with the goal of reading the Bible in a year)! The man who reads has a gift. The other gift that I has been such blessing to me is Pandora. This morning, as I began my study, the first song to play was…

Sometimes, do you ever wonder if you will ever learn the lesson that God has taught you your whole life? Yeah, me neither.

I love the Lord,
because he ·listens to my prayers for help [L hears/or heard my voice, my prayer of supplication].
2 He ·paid attention [L extends his ear] to me,
so I will ·call to him for help [call; pray] ·as long as I live [L in my days].
3 The ·ropes [cords] of death ·bound [encompass] me,
and the ·fear [hardship; distress] of ·the grave [L Sheol; C the grave or the underworld] ·took hold of [reached; found] me.
I ·was troubled and sad [L found distress and sadness]. Psalm 116 EXB

Hear me, friends. We need to stop putting our thoughts as truth. We need to keep the promises of God in the forefront of our minds. Do you love Him? Do you remember at all times He hears your cries for help? I am reminded of a lesson the Lord taught me early in my time as a Mama. The Lord has been with me through it all. There is not one person on this earth that has been with me my whole life. Think about this for a second. Family, friends, co-workers all have been with me some of the time but the Lord has always been with me. All the stages of my life…daughter, student, wife, mother, friend, worker…He has walked through every bit of it. The same is true for you.

14 So [C Paul begins again the prayer he started in v. 1] I ·bow in prayer [kneel] before the Father 15 from whom ·every [or the whole] ·family [C a play on words, since the words “father” and “family” are related] in heaven and on earth gets its true name. 16 I ask the Father ·in his great glory [or from the treasures of his glory; or out of his glorious riches] to give you the power to be strong ·inwardly[L in the inner person] through his Spirit. 17 I pray that Christ will ·live [make his home] in your hearts by faith and that your life will be ·strong in love and be built on love [L rooted and grounded in love].18 And I pray that you and all ·God’s holy people [T the saints] will have the power to ·understand[comprehend; grasp] the greatness of Christ’s love—how wide and how long and how high and how deep that love is. 19 Christ’s love is ·greater than anyone can ever know [beyond comprehension/knowledge], but I pray that you will be able to know that love. ·Then [L …so that] you can be filled with the fullness of God.

 I ·bow in prayer [kneel] before the Father…

54 Solomon prayed this prayer and ·plea [request; supplication] to the Lord, kneeling in front of the altar with his ·arms raised [hands spread] toward heaven. When he finished praying, he got up. 1 Kings 8 EXB

6 Come, let’s ·worship him [bow down] and ·bow down [bend the knee].
Let’s kneel before the Lord who made us,
7 because he is our God
and we are the people ·he takes care of [L of his pasture],
the sheep ·that he tends [L of his hand; 74:179:13100:3John 10:11–14]. Psalm 95 EXB

… from whom ·every [or the whole] ·family [C a play on words, since the words “father” and “family” are related] in heaven and on earth gets its true name. 

9 So God ·raised [exalted] him to the highest place.
God ·made his name [or gave him the name] ·greater than [far above] every other name
10 so that every knee will bow to the name of Jesus
everyone in heaven, on earth, and under the earth.
11 And ·everyone [L every tongue] will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord
and bring glory to God the Father. Philippians 2 EXB

20 God ·used [exerted] to raise Christ from the dead and ·put [L seat] him at his right ·side [L hand; Ps. 110:1Acts 2:34] in the heavenly ·world [realm; places]. 21 God has put Christ ·over [far above] all rulers, authorities, powers, and ·kings [lords; dominion], and every other ·title given [L name that is named] not only in this ·world [age] but also in the ·next [coming one]. Ephesians 1 EXB

I ask the Father ·in his great glory [or from the treasures of his glory; or out of his glorious riches]…

In ·Christ [L him] we ·are set free [have been redeemed/purchased] by ·the blood of his death [L his blood; C blood signifies his sacrificial death], and so we have forgiveness of sins. ·How rich is [or This redemption reveals the wealth of; L …according to the riches of] God’s grace…Ephesians 1 EXB

23 He waited with patience so that he could make known ·his rich glory [the riches of his glory] to the ·people who receive his [L vessels/objects of] mercy. He has prepared these people ·to have his glory[to experience his glory; L for glory], 24 and we are those people whom God called. He called us not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles.  Romans 9 EXB

…to give you the power to be strong ·inwardly[L in the inner person] through his Spirit. 

28 ·Surely you [L Do you not…?] know.
·Surely you have [L Have you not…?] heard.
The Lord is the ·God who lives forever [everlasting God],
who created ·all [L the ends of] the ·world [earth].
He does not become tired or ·need to rest [weary].
No one can ·understand [fathom; comprehend] how great his ·wisdom [knowledge] is.
29 He gives strength to those who are tired
and more power to those who are weak.
30 Even ·children [youths; young people] become tired and ·need to rest [weary],
and young ·people [men] ·trip and fall [fall in exhaustion].
31 But the people who ·trust [hope in; wait on] the Lord will become strong again.
They will rise up ·as an eagle in the sky [L with wings like eagles];
they will run and not ·need rest [grow weary];
they will walk and not ·become tired [T faint]. Isaiah 40 EXB

Remember yesterday’s prayer? Remember Ephesians 1:17 asking the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, to give you ·a spirit of wisdom[or spiritual wisdom; or the Spirit of wisdom] and revelation so that you will know him better? We cannot be strong in our own strength. We cannot muster enough to endure these life’s trials alone. His Spirit! His Spirit can give you the strength and wisdom.

I pray that Christ will ·live [make his home] in your hearts by faith and that your life will be ·strong in love and be built on love [L rooted and grounded in love].

 And I pray that you and all ·God’s holy people [T the saints] will have the power to ·understand[comprehend; grasp] the greatness of Christ’s love—how wide and how long and how high and how deep that love is.

Remember Standing on the Promises of God? Paul’s prayer, Paul’s petition on our behalf reverberates through the entire Bible. His love.

11 As high as the ·sky [heaven] is above the earth,
so great is his ·love [loyalty] for those who ·respect [fear] him [Prov. 1:7].
12 He has taken our ·sins [transgressions] away from us
as far as the east is from west.
13 The Lord has ·mercy [compassion] on those who ·respect [fear] him [Prov. 1:7],
as a father has ·mercy [compassion] on his children. Psalm 103 EXB

8 The Lord says, “My thoughts are not like your thoughts.
Your ways are not like my ways.
9 Just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts [Ps. 103:11]. Isaiah 55 EXB

And today, before I sign off,

Thankfuls

285. Thankful for Noah’s curriculum for high school.

286. Thankful for the gift of belly aching laughter.

287. Thankful for the splint in my mouth, that keeps the migraines at bay.

Today, friends, stand on His promises! Repeat them over and over.

Christ’s love is ·greater than anyone can ever know [beyond comprehension/knowledge], but I pray that you will be able to know that love. ·Then [L …so that] you can be filled with the fullness of God.

Be filled. Pray on. Pray on.

 

Need freedom?

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Reserve Haphalskyy Photo by Balkhovitin

Good morning, beloved of God,

This morning as my computer warmed up, my third was lamenting about his many mosquito bites. He was pointing to every place the mosquitos attacked. He was so tired. He was frustrated. And then a friend called, and my son transformed. He sat up. He began talking excitedly about his newest craze. I watched this rapid transformation and I muse. Get used to this..my husband has had to..;)

Do I think my son was lying? No. I think his misery was based on a singular focus. He still has those pesky, itchy bites, yet his mind switched and he is able to enjoy his conversation. (Tho, I just saw him enter the bathroom with my phone…not sure I’m…)

I don’t like dwelling on the uncomfortable stuff, such as the Holy Spirit zeroing in on my sin or pain.  I prefer to sit in the happy places. Yet, as much as I don’t like to think upon this, some of the storms in my life are of my own doing. My own failings. Just like my son’s mosquito bite, when I am attacked by the little buggers, I long to scratch. Notice how the momentary relief becomes a more persistent itch? Kind of like sin, isn’t it? We give in to the temptation (whatever it is) and all of a sudden, the itch has become our focus. In the back of my mind, I know I should stop itching,  I should not give in and yet I do. James says it so much better:

12 ·When people are tempted and still continue strong, they should be happy [L Blessed is the one who perseveres/endures trials/temptations]. After they have ·proved their faith[stood/endured/passed the test], ·God will reward them with life forever [L they will receive the crown of life; C alludes to the laurel crown given for a victory]. ·God [L He] promised this to all those who love him. 13 When people are ·tempted [undergoing a trial], they should not say, “God is tempting me.”[L For] God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But ·people are[L each person is] tempted when their own evil desire ·leads [lures; drags] them away and ·traps[entices; lures] them. 15 ·This desire leads to sin [L Then, after desire is conceived, it gives birth to sin], and then the sin ·grows [or becomes full-grown] and ·brings [gives birth to] death. James 1 EXB

Now here is the tricky part. Walking through the sin committed with the Holy Spirit, seeing where the temptation snagged me and understanding the root. The place where Satan knows I fall most easily. He hasn’t changed his technique a lot in my life. It all began with ….you answer for yourself. I answer for myself. And then I remember Paul. Thank You, Lord for Paul and his letters.  It is a little long..so stick with him.

14 [L For] We know that the law is spiritual, but I am ·not spiritual [fleshly; carnal] ·since sin rules me as if I were its slave [L sold to sin; C as a slave]. 15 [L For] I do not understand the things I do. [L For] I do not do what I want to do, and I do the things I hate. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, that means I agree that the law is good [C Paul’s acknowledgement that his behavior is wrong confirms the law’s righteous standards]. 17 But [L now] I am not really the one who is doing these hated things; it is sin living in me that does them. 18 ·Yes [L For…], I know that nothing good lives in me—I mean nothing good lives in ·the part of me that is earthly and sinful [my sinful self; my sinful nature; T my flesh]. [L For] I want to do the things that are good, but I ·do not [or cannot] do them. 19 [L For] I do not do the good things I want to do, but I do the ·bad [evil] things I do not want to do. 20 So if I do things I do not want to do, then I am not the one doing them. It is sin living in me that does those things.

21 So I ·have learned this rule [or find this principle/law at work]: When I want to do good, evil is ·there with me [present within me; close at hand]. 22 [L For] In ·my mind [my inmost self; L the person within], I ·am happy with [delight in] God’s law. 23 But I see ·another law [a different standard; oranother power] working in my ·body [or outward actions; L members; parts], which makes war against the ·law [standards] that my mind accepts. That other ·law [standard; or power] working in my ·body[or outward actions; L members; parts] is the law of sin, and it makes me its prisoner. 24 What a ·miserable [wretched] man I am! Who will ·save [free; rescue; deliver] me from this ·body that brings me death [body doomed to die; or burden of death]? 25 ·I thank God for saving me [L Thanks be to God!] through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Ukrainian Steppe Nature Reserve Stone Tombs Photo by Balkhovitin

So [L then] in my mind I am a slave to God’s law, but in my ·sinful self [sinful nature; T flesh] I am a slave to the ·law [principle; or power] of sin. Romans 7 EXB

Paul understands. Paul was there. You may be there. You may be continuing in a sin that the Holy Spirit is pushing you to change. You long to stop. To change. Yet, this is NOT something to be done in your own strength. My own strength, we are saved not on our own merit, but because Christ has saved us! Do you hear that?

So now, those who are in Christ Jesus are not ·judged guilty[a] [condemned; punished for their sins]. 2 [L For] ·Through [or In] Christ Jesus the ·law [principle; or power] of the Spirit that brings life set you[b] free from the ·law [principle; or power] that brings sin and death. Romans 8 EXB

The sun breaks through the clouds. Hope renewed. Lift up a shout! Run after Him!

So, today, the cross before me, my sins forgiven, I walk freely with Him. Satan whispers and I lift up my face, I turn my eyes to Jesus. I replay No Chains On Me! and declare my God saves. I am free. And you know what? So are you. You ask for the forgiveness Jesus so freely offers to you. You accept His very free, yet costly gift (not to you, but to Him).

And your heart can be free!

I gotta go..and dance with my girl.

Pray on! Pray on!

 

Make ’em laugh

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Panoramic View of the Palace and Gardens of Versailles Painting by John Vanderlyn (1775–1852)

Good morning, beloved,

14 I have given them your ·teaching [word]. And the world has hated them, because they don’t belong to the world, just as I don’t belong to the world. 15 I am not asking you to take them out of the world but to ·keep them safe [protect them] from the ·Evil One [or evil; C the Evil One is the Devil]. 16 They don’t belong to the world, just as I don’t belong to the world. 17 ·Make them ready for your service[Sanctify them; Consecrate them; C setting them apart for service] through your truth; your ·teaching[word] is truth. 18 I have sent them into the world, just as you sent me into the world. John 17 EXB

Each day we, as partakers of the word, have a beautiful opportunity to remember He is making us ready for His service. We are being set apart for service to the King. How do we keep in the sanctification process? Oh friends, to me this is where it gets tricky, as I have written before, my brain is much like a train wreck and I’m already piling up, off the track. Then my brain remembers! His Word! His Word sets us apart, for His Word is always the truth.

We have been sent into this world, so when we walk around mopey, depressed, weak, that sent process is, um, a little rocky.  I was given these words today. I know them backwards and forwards:

Trust the Lord with all your heart,
and don’t ·depend [rely] on your own understanding.
·Remember the Lord [L Know him] ·in all you do [L on all your paths],

and he will ·give you success [L keep your roads straight]. Proverbs 3 EXB

And a quote from Pastor Chuck Smith:

“If through faith you have placed your eternal destiny in the loving hands of Jesus Christ, you can be sure that God is at work, shaping the events and circumstances of your life into a beautiful mosaic that will reveal His Son to the men and women around you. His hand is on you, as it has been since before you were born.” Chuck Smith fr Okie Preacher blog 

So I remember my blessings, my thankfuls today:

223. Playing Wii last night, Luke advised Ella she was getting the stuffing knocked out of her. Ella’s response, I am getting the stuffing knocked out of me!

224. While getting my injections, the man who usually does my I.V. came in and told me he saved me. ?? They have a new person starting that wanted to try an I.V.  I blessed him, his children and his children’s children. Is it good they remember me?

225. While in the waiting room, a husband was told to meet his wife on the first floor with the car. He jumped up and ran out the door. There was a feminine coat sitting by where he WAS sitting. An older lady and I looked at each other,  smiled and went back to our reading. 5 minutes later he dashed back into the room and grabbed the coat. We had to laugh.

226. Star left me a gift by the T.V. A dead mouse, she was so proud. We had to laugh after the gag reflex and grocery bag with said mouse were disposed. She looked so proud of her gift.

So when YOU give thanks, what are some thankfuls that have made you laugh lately? (Ann Voskamp)

Will you join me in praying for Micah Ahern and Richard? Both children have cancer. Pray for their Mommies and Daddies today.

Pray for your Pastor and his wife:

Pray for a fresh divine anointing on your pastor and his wife’s ministry. Pray that God’s working will be powerfully evident both in their personal life and the spiritual life of the congregation. (1 Cor. 9:27; 2 Tim. 1:7; Rom. 15:18-19a)

Pray on. Pray on.

 

Motives…

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Rosh Haniqra, Israel. Rosh Hanikra (“head of the rock caves”) is a geologic formation in Israel, located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, in the Western Galilee near the border with Lebanon. It is a white cliff face which opens up into spectacular grottos. The Rosh Hanikra grottos are cavernous tunnels formed by sea action on the soft chalk rock. The total length is some 200 meters. They branch off in various directions with some interconnecting segments. In the past, the only access to them was from the sea and experienced divers were the only ones capable of visiting. Today a cable car takes visitors down to see the grottos. Photo by Ester Inbar

Good morning, beloved!

I will celebrate the light, as I stumble in the darkness, I will call Your name by night. You are holy! You are holy!  (God of Wonders)

I took my dog outside this morning and we have snow! It was beautiful. A little chilly with my choice of footwear but still to be marveled and all I could think about is the excitement of my children. :)

Snow near a lake in Bavaria, Germany Photo by Borovino

It finally covers the land. Sledding!

So good to be in His presence this morning, I keep fading in and out with thoughts and concerns floating through my mind.

Waiting for the nerve blocks, waiting for answers for my boy, waiting for…yet will I be faithful? Will I listen?

I will be faithful. I will fall. I will serve. I will stumble. I love that God extends His hand to me. May I extend my hand to my children every time. To those who hurt, may I not walk away.

Yesterday left us in 1 Corinthians 13…continuing on. :) When I discussed with the kids again, we didn’t even move on. However, it was fun to sing the first part of Sing the Word‘s song and they actually understood what they were singing. Watching the light fill their eyes. Love it.

Next section:

I may give away everything I have, and I may even give my body ·as an offering to be burned [L to be burned].[a] But I gain nothing if I do not have love.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not ·jealous [envious], it does not brag, and it is not ·proud [arrogant; conceited; puffed up]. 1 Corinthians 13 EXB

Let’s tuck in here:

Give away:( psōmizō) primarily “to feed by putting little bits into the mouths of infants or animals,” came to denote simply “to give out food, to feed,” and is rendered by the phrase “bestow . . . to feed” in 1Cr 13:3

Jesus gave His everything, didn’t He? He did not hold anything back. He loved, He served, He lived and He died, oooooh! but He was raised from the dead! I digress.. well, no, I don’t. He is our example. He is our leader.

Rishon LeZion, Israel – The Lake’s Park with Glebionis coronaria (a.k.a Chrysanthemum coronarium) yellow carpet. Photo by MathKnight

I think of Philippians 2: (stay with me..)

In your lives you must ·think and act like [have the same attitude as] Christ Jesus. [C What follows may be from an early Christian hymn.]

·Christ himself was like God in everything [L Who, being in the form of God].
But he did not think that being equal with God was something to be ·used for his own benefit [or grasped; seized; held on to].
But he ·gave up his place with God and made himself nothing [L emptied himself].
He ·became like [L took the form of] a ·servant [slave; bondservant]
and was born ·as a man [L in the likeness of humanity/men].
And ·when he was living [L being found in appearance/likeness] as a ·man [human being],
he humbled himself and was fully obedient to God,
even ·when that caused his [to the point of] death—death on a cross.
So God ·raised [exalted] him to the highest place. Phillippians 2 EXB

God ·made his name [or gave him the name] ·greater than [far above] every other name
10 so that every knee will bow to the name of Jesus—
everyone in heaven, on earth, and under the earth.
11 And ·everyone [L every tongue] will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord
and bring glory to God the Father.

So He is our example. We follow in His steps.

However, Paul’s issue here was motive. Why give to the poor? For the recognition? For the pats on the back?

The next verses make me ill (so why not share them?):

42 But many believed in Jesus, even many of the ·leaders [authorities]. But because of the Pharisees, they did not ·say they believed in him [L confess/proclaim him/it] for fear they would

Banias waterfalls Photo by EdoM

be put out of the synagogue. 43 They loved ·praise [glory] from people more than ·praise [glory] from God.

44 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me is really believing in the One who sent me. 45 Whoever sees me sees the One who sent me. 46 I have come as light into the world so that whoever believes in me would not ·stay [remain] in darkness. John 12 EXB

Remember how I started this morning? The section of the song, God of Wonders? Rather than call out for Abba in the darkness, to whom will they call? We know the Light, we love the Light! Let us not give out of necessity, guilt, pats on the back. Let us give to the needy, the dying, the weak because our example gave everything.

A beautiful  example of a life touched by Jesus:

Jesus [L entered and] was going through the city of Jericho. A man was there named Zacchaeus, who was a ·very important [chief; leading] tax collector [C with oversight over other tax collectors, and so even more hated; see 18:10], and he was wealthy. He ·wanted [was trying] to see who Jesus was, but he was not able because he was too short to see above the crowd. He ran ahead to a place where Jesus ·would come [was about to pass], and he climbed a sycamore tree so he could see him. When Jesus came to that place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down! [L For; Because] I must stay at your house today.”

Zacchaeus came down quickly and welcomed him ·gladly [joyfully]. All the people saw this and began to ·complain[murmur; grumble], “Jesus ·is staying with [has gone in to lodge with/be the guest of] a sinner!”

This is a Sycamore Ficus sycomorus tree on the site of ancient Ashkalon. This Israeli species of Sycamore is different from the tree that goes by the same name in North America and some other places. It is, however, the same species climbed by Zacchaeus in the Gospel of Luke 19:4. Photo by Ian Scott

But Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord [C the scene presumably changes here to a meal at Zacchaeus’ home], “[L Look;T Behold] I ·will give [or I am now giving] half of my possessions to the poor. And ·if I have cheated anyone [or to those I have cheated/extorted], I will pay back four times more [C a generous response, since the law required only restitution plus one-fifth; Lev. 6:1–5].”

Jesus said to him, “Salvation has come to this house today, because this man also ·belongs to the family [L is a son] of Abraham. 10 [L For; Because] The Son of Man came to ·find [seek out] lost people and save them.” Luke 19 EXB

Are you singing the song yet? About Zaccheus was a wee little man? His life was radically altered, his life was transformed by his life intersecting with Jesus. We don’t know how the conversation played out before Z cried out for freedom. Freedom from the guilt, the pain, the knowledge that the life in front of him was Light itself and he had lived his life shrouded in darkness, lies, cheating. The chains were falling from Z. Jesus proclaimed blessing over this life. And notice, not just Z, his whole family

 I may even give my body ·as an offering to be burned [L to be burned].[a] But I gain nothing if I do not have love…

Back to motive. Back to our heart response. [a]Other Greek copies read “hand over my body in order that I may brag.”

David Guzik puts it well:

i. There were some early Christians so arrogant as to think that the blood of martyrdom would wash away any sin. They were so proud about their ability to endure suffering for Jesus, they thought it was the most important thing in the Christian life. It is important, but not the most important. Without love, it profits me nothing. Even if it is done willingly (Poole notes “and not be dragged to the stake, but freely give up myself to that cruel kind of death”), without love, it profits me nothing. BLB

Pause. Think about this, consider your heart. Consider.  As I sit and think, I am thinking  that I should start each conversation with a pause. Lord, help my words to be with love. Breathe in, remember His Spirit is dwelling, abiding in me. Words filled with His Spirit, especially with my children, in the moments where stress is at its peak, to pause, to hold on to my words and to love. 

We gain nothing. Nothing…without love.
My thankfuls today:

Two scrolls from the Dead Sea Scrolls lie at their location in the Qumran Caves before being removed for scholarly examination by archaeologists. Photo by Habermann, Abraham Meir, 1901-
Three gifts on paper:
160. Artwork by my kiddos
161. Certificate of our marriage…15 years later, by God’s grace and love, here we are.
162. His Word, life, my everything. May I be more and more filled with these precious pages…
Consider our motives. Consider the why.
Pray on. Pray on.