Shield and buckler

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I pray often for “guardian angel” protection over our children. Maybe it’s because my dad used to enjoy watching the show, “Touched by an Angel” with Roma Downey. There’s something familiar and comforting to me when I think of divine intervention in our human existence.

My dad was a great protector of his family and not afraid to show it. On the other hand, he was humble enough to say to one of his cousin’s on his deathbed. “It’s only through my savior, Jesus Christ, that I am assured a place in heaven.” That person said to him, “well if anyone will make it into heaven, Lennie, it will be you”. I overheard their conversation and was in awe of my dad’s conviction.

According to Dictionary.com. “Buckler” is defined as:

“noun

  1. a round shield held by a grip and sometimes having straps through which the arm is passed.”

The King James Version describes the shield of the Hebrews as a buckler (see Psalm 18:2,30)

When God is our shield, how much safer are we in the presence of opposition. He provides a refuge that can help us advance a long way. Even in the face of evil, He secures our outcome and helps us stand in the day of battle. Enemy fire should not deter our progress when we trust in His help. Granted, this implies that we humble ourselves and ask Him for help.

Just as King David started as a shepherd and demonstrated great leadership when he was king, he writes as the Psalmist in this passage of how much he trusts God’s shepherd heart (the King of his heart).

Similarly, when God’s word is the source of our wisdom, our heart’s protection is secure. It not only protects from physical harm or adversity but will protect us relationally. The author of Proverbs describes being close to wisdom like having an intimate friend.

The children of Israel were given God’s code of ethics through the Ten Commandments. These commandments were familiar to them. When they broke their covenant of faithfulness to God, God remained faithful to them by establishing a new covenant for all people (Jeremiah 31).

Staying close to all that is familiar is not bad when it involves knowing God’s truth for us. Remain in His love, that is a command that brings ultimate peace even in the midst of the storm.-Teresa

Psalm 28:6-8 (ESV)

6 Blessed be the Lord!
For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.
7 The Lord is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him.

8 The Lord is the strength of his people;[b]
he is the saving refuge of his anointed.
9 Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!
Be their shepherd and carry them forever.

Read full chapter

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 28:2 Hebrew your innermost sanctuary
  2. Psalm 28:8 Some Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Syriac; most Hebrew manuscripts is their strength

Proverbs 7:1-5English Standard Version

Warning Against the Adulteress

7 My son, keep my words
and treasure up my commandments with you;
2 keep my commandments and live;
keep my teaching as the apple of your eye;
3 bind them on your fingers;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
and call insight your intimate friend,
5 to keep you from the forbidden[a] woman,
from the adulteress[b] with her smooth words.

Read full chapter

Footnotes

  1. Proverbs 7:5 Hebrew strange
  2. Proverbs 7:5 Hebrew the foreign woman

El Shaddai and His provision

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When pain is at its worse, I may not comprehend good words that are spoken but if they are put to music, I’m all ears so to speak (listening more importantly with my heart and soul).

El Shaddai can mean God of the mountains, of the wilderness or simply the God who provides, His grace being sufficient. (See Wiki link below)

When the people of Israel (aka Jacob) were promised through Moses that they would be brought into a land of their own, they did not listen.

The “promised land” had gone beyond their ability to hope. Their taskmasters demanded things of them that they could no longer perform. (Make bricks from straw and now find the straw first but keep making the same quota of bricks).

God appeared to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and established His covenant with them. He, however, did not make himself known to them as He did with Moses.

The children of Israel had become so numerous yet so enslaved, they no longer had the capacity to hope in God’s promises for them.

Moses was unique in that he was qualified to lead millions of people in a giant exodus out of slavery (brought up in Pharaohs house as the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter).

Moses was also unique in that his biological parents were part of the priestly Levites with extreme faith in YHWH (the covenant God of the Hebrews).

What a tremendous undertaking that Moses agreed to (albeit not without resistance), acting as God’s deliverer for the children of Israel.

This unique deliverer was recognized as special by his mother even at birth when she kept him hidden, believing against all odds that he would not be slain with the other newborn boys.

As God made himself known to Moses and the people of Israel, they escaped servitude, witnessed miracles, endured wilderness wanderings and were provided God’s law (code of conduct) at Mount Sinai.

I watched the old, yet first of “The Fast and The Furious” movies last night. We were amused at the insertion of “saying grace” between murders and violence. Even the priest appeared to be bought by the criminal, but in the end allowed for his removal.

The best line of the movie, however, was when the FBI agent admits his respect for Dom because he had a “code” to live by.

In essence, the Ten Commandments that were given through Moses to the people coming out of slavery provided a code of ethics that not only saved their lives but helped them to re-establish in the Promised Land successfully. (Now comes the music and dancing that brings God’s promises home).

Listen to this fabulous song, “Promised Land” by Toby Mac and Sheryl Crow. I heard it this week and was captivated by how much God wants us to hear His hope for us and provision that He alone can bring to our souls. Promised Land -Teresa

Exodus 6:2-28 (ESV)

2 God spoke to Moses and said to him, “I am the Lord. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty,[a] but by my name the Lord I did not make myself known to them. 4 I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they lived as sojourners. 5 Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the people of Israel whom the Egyptians hold as slaves, and I have remembered my covenant. 6 Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. 7 I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 8 I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I will give it to you for a possession. I am the Lord.’”9 Moses spoke thus to the people of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery.

10 So the Lord said to Moses, 11 “Go in, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the people of Israel go out of his land.” 12 But Moses said to the Lord, “Behold, the people of Israel have not listened to me. How then shall Pharaoh listen to me, for I am of uncircumcised lips?” 13 But the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron and gave them a charge about the people of Israel and about Pharaoh king of Egypt: to bring the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt.

The Genealogy of Moses and Aaron

14 These are the heads of their fathers’ houses: the sons of Reuben, the firstborn of Israel: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi; these are the clans of Reuben. 15 The sons of Simeon: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul, the son of a Canaanite woman; these are the clans of Simeon.16 These are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari, the years of the life of Levi being 137 years. 17 The sons of Gershon: Libni and Shimei, by their clans. 18 The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel, the years of the life of Kohath being 133 years. 19 The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. These are the clans of the Levites according to their generations. 20 Amram took as his wife Jochebed his father’s sister, and she bore him Aaron and Moses, the years of the life of Amram being 137 years. 21 The sons of Izhar: Korah, Nepheg, and Zichri. 22 The sons of Uzziel: Mishael, Elzaphan, and Sithri. 23 Aaron took as his wife Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab and the sister of Nahshon, and she bore him Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. 24 The sons of Korah: Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph; these are the clans of the Korahites. 25 Eleazar, Aaron’s son, took as his wife one of the daughters of Putiel, and she bore him Phinehas. These are the heads of the fathers’ houses of the Levites by their clans.

26 These are the Aaron and Moses to whom the Lord said: “Bring out the people of Israel from the land of Egypt by their hosts.” 27 It was they who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt about bringing out the people of Israel from Egypt, this Moses and this Aaron.

28 On the day when the Lord spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, 29 the Lord said to Moses, “I am the Lord; tell Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say to you.” 30 But Moses said to the Lord, “Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips. How will Pharaoh listen to me?”

Footnotes

  1. Exodus 6:3 Hebrew El Shaddai (a)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Shaddai

Take no offense

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A few years back, I heard a podcast about not taking offense at others. At the time, I was working on providing positive feedback when earned and not only complaining when service was poor.

Both take time, which seems to be one of our most valuable resources. After a few years of doing this (matching one for one), I transitioned to providing mostly positive reviews.

Since then, I have retired from my career as a registered nurse and started my part-time “gig”. Due to swiftly changing technical interfaces (for which I’m grateful), the learning curve can be steep when trying to obtain warp speed navigational skills. This applies to all levels of training in the workplace.

I spoke about my situation with several “millennial” friends (who are in the thick of the work force). I asked what to do with customers who “takes offense” at having to wait for a “newbie”. There is some great wisdom out there: don’t take it personal, don’t put yourself out there for others to trample on, get stronger, yell back at them, match their energy, say what you think they want to hear, let it go since you can’t change people who know better and still want to act childish or cruel. These friends all made me feel encouraged and empowered to be patient with myself as I navigate a learning curve.

In this passage, both Jesus and John the Baptist offended others. People in Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth were offended at His claim to be the Messiah. King Herod’s “wife” was offended at John the Baptist. She was angered enough to have him beheaded.

Jesus and John the Baptist continued to speak the truth that God the Father had given them. They did not change who they were or what they were called to do based on offended people.

We may not know the reason or the outcome of our fiery trials. But we can rest assured that our God and Creator uses clay pots and many times “cracked” vessels so that His glory will shine through. Trust Him.- Teresa #takenooffense #takingoffense=lackoffaith

Like 7:18-30 (NET)

18 John’s disciples informed him about all these things. John called two of his disciples 19 and sent them to Jesus to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” 20 When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?’” 21 At that very time Jesus cured many people of diseases, sicknesses, and evil spirits, and granted sight to many who were blind. 22 So he answered them, “Go tell John what you have seen and heard: The blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news proclaimed to them. 23 Blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.” 24
When John’s messengers had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?25 What did you go out to see? A man dressed in fancy clothes? Look, those who wear fancy clothes and live in luxury are in kings’ courts! 26 What did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 27 This is the one about whom it is written, ‘Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,who will prepare your way before you.’ 28 I tell you, among those born of women no one is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he is.” 29 (Now all the people who heard this, even the tax collectors, acknowledged God’s justice, because they had been baptized with John’s baptism. 30 However, the Pharisees and the experts in religious law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.)

Matthew 13:53-14:12 (ESV)

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

53 And when Jesus had finished these parables, he went away from there, 54 and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works?55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? 56 And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57 And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.”58 And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.

The Death of John the Baptist

14 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the fame of Jesus, 2 and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead; that is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” 3 For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife,[a] 4 because John had been saying to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” 5 And though he wanted to put him to death, he feared the people, because they held him to be a prophet. 6 But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company and pleased Herod, 7 so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. 8 Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” 9 And the king was sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given. 10 He sent and had John beheaded in the prison, 11 and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother.12 And his disciples came and took the body and buried it, and they went and told Jesus.

Footnotes

  1. Matthew 14:3 Some manuscripts his brother’s wife

Silver refined 7 times

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As life-saving as silver is from dangerous microbes and as useful as it is for creating electronics in cars, it is also full of symbolism-including purity. (see references below)

The passage in Psalm 12 speaks of silver refined in a furnace as being purified, 7 times. The number seven in Hebrew represents an oath, something unshakeable. God’s word does not change, it is steadfast. When He keeps His word, His kingdom comes and His will is done.

There is nothing mixed in to change His meaning. It is authentic and true. When Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?”, he was verbalizing the question of human culture and society in general. Many things appear one way but come to find out, they were just the opposite of what was said. This is called reading between the lines or as my freshman college professors taught us, “situational ethics”.

The vileness exalted among children in our current age will not be unnoticed by God. He has set a standard that is unpolluted by fame or popularity. He will respond at the right time to take care of unjust gain derived from vile deeds, robbing the poor or needy. (Children are poor and needy as they rely on adults to care for them properly)

Who’s word is unchanging? Trust His timing.- Teresa #purified #likesilver

Who is the One who protects and keeps us? (January challenge: memorize Psalm 121)

It is the Lord, maker of heaven and earth!!!

A song of ascents. (Psalm 121, NET)
I look up toward the hills.
From where does my help come?2
My help comes from the Lord,
the Creator of heaven and earth!3
May he not allow your foot to slip!
May your protector not sleep!4
Look! Israel’s protector
does not sleep or slumber!5
The Lord is your protector;
the Lord is the shade at your right hand.6
The sun will not harm you by day,
or the moon by night.7
The Lord will protect you from all harm;
he will protect your life.8
The Lord will protect you in all you do,
now and forevermore.

Psalm 12:5-8 (ESV)


‘5
“Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan,
I will now arise,” says the Lord;
“I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”
6 The words of the Lord are pure words,
like silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
purified seven times.

7 You, O Lord, will keep them;
you will guard us[b] from this generation forever.
8 On every side the wicked prowl,
as vileness is exalted among the children of man.’

John 18:33-38a (NET)

Pilate Questions Jesus
So Pilate went back into the governor’s residence, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” 34 Jesus replied, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or have others told you about me?”35 Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own people and your chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?” 36
Jesus replied, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my servants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish authorities. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” 37 Then Pilate said, “So you are a king!” Jesus replied, “You say that I am a king. For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world – to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate asked, “What is truth?” ‘

Additional web- based references below…

According to John Rothins @USmoneyreserve.com, (July 1, 2019)

Silver might not always get the glory and attention that gold does, but it remains one of the most useful precious metals in the world. Solar technology, electronics, soldering and brazing, engine bearings, medicine, cars, water purification, jewelry, tableware, and your precious metals portfolio—silver can be found practically everywhere.

And from Mining.com (April 30,2021), a post from Rob Tyson states:

As a metal, silver is extremely pliable, elastic, heat resistant, conductive, non-corrosive, non-toxic in low doses, has low contact resistant, doesn’t readily oxidise and has proven antimicrobial and biocide properties. That means it can lend itself to a huge range of applications, some of them literally life-saving.

Of particular note are silver nanoparticles (silver NPs), which are tiny particles of silver. Studies have found they have excellent antimicrobial properties and are very effective against most types of bacteria. However, they’ve also proven to be a very handy tool in the fight against some viruses, notably HIV, hepatitis B, herpes simplex, mpox (abbreviation added) and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus).

Have you asked?

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It takes a good question to find the narrow way leading to eternal life. Have I asked to be given what I need?

It takes a bit of pondering to seek a worthy treasure. Have I settled for mediocrity or given up on excellence?

Energy expended in knocking at the right door of opportunity will not lead to destruction. Am I part of the few who persevere to find it opening?

I heard a young man describe a friend of his who followed Christ wholeheartedly as a quality person. He would surely consider her for a wife!

I found it refreshing to hear that it was not because she was someone who was easily seduced that put her in the “quality” category, but someone who reflected Christ.

Religion is different than relationship. One is “about” God and the other is “with” God. Taking care of orphans and widows in their distress is done “with” the love of God, only then considered “pure” religion that involves a true relationship (James 1:27).

I read a tweet from @CSLewis daily saying, “Of all the bad men, religious bad men are the worst.” – C.S. Lewis

I would say that is because a religious bad person is caught up with finding correct answers but not changing their humanly deceptive heart through the power of God. Correct answers only lead to knowledge which puffs up but as Paul the apostle states, love builds up! (I Corinthians 8:1)

If our right actions stem from a need to only be correct, then the power of love has not yet transformed our hearts.

Asking the difficult question (aka…I need something/asked with humility) is necessary in order to be given the rewarding answer.

Seeking the worthy treasure begins with discerning true quality.

Knocking at the door of God’s heart allows us to gain entrance into His fellowship, through His Son, Jesus Christ the Lord.

In so doing, we will begin to lose our insecurities caused by sin’s curse. Only then, will we be able to treat others as we would love to be treated.

I have struggled with feelings of being left out, over-giving to gain acceptance and jealousy/anger of those who attempt to take what I feel is rightfully mine. Reading this passage reminds me that it’s not other people’s job to make me feel included, I must ask the right question of the Lord for myself. Over-giving leads to being “used” by others or not valued as the quality person God has made me. Trying to “hold on” to what is mine only leads to achy hands. By opening my fingers, I can be released of bad feelings, knowing God will truly give every opportunity that is mine.

Have you asked, are you seeking, will you knock? Each season of life requires a different way of addressing these three questions. None is more rewarding than the present realization that He is waiting for our fellowship (questions). -Teresa

Matthew 6:7-13 (ESV)

Ask, and It Will Be Given

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

The Golden Rule

12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy[b] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

The Bride as wife of the Lamb

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When the apostle John described the new Jerusalem in the passage below, he said it will be radiant (having God’s glory). Like a rare jewel, her beauty will shine. With high walls and twelve gates there will be gems adorning the 12 layers of foundation, every type of jewel.

The twelve apostles will make up the foundation, the twelve tribes of Israel are the 12 gates and there will be pure gold throughout the city (could this be the works that are done for the Lord that did not burn up in judgment- reaching others with God’s love)?

All the beauty, radiance and rare gemstones portrayed here could be representing people-the church, herself. Translating into millions of people who put their faith in God. They are the ones who have trusted His son, Jesus Christ the LORD (who is head of the body- the church) in order to save them from sin’s curse, (aka separation from God, or spiritual death).

I believe heaven will be all of us believers together, glorified by His perfection. Our Savior has completed the Father’s will and made all things new. Let us be courageous to conquer the world’s fiery trials and temptations. Trusting His word, the Bible, let us stand true with unwavering devotion to our Lord.

The first and best New Year’s resolution for me is to nurture my relationship with God. This may be in Bible reading, prayer, worship, meditation, journaling, memorization or fellowshipping with others who are encouragers of the faith.

Rare beauty can be found in one place alone, His radiance shining through a redeemed life. – Teresa #HappyNewYear

Revelation 21:1-27 (ESV) emphasis added

The New Heaven and the New Earth

21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place[a] of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,[b] and God himself will be with them as their God.[c] 4 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.”

5 And he was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

The New Jerusalem

9 Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed— 13 on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15 And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. 16 The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia.[d] Its length and width and height are equal. 17 He also measured its wall, 144 cubits[e] by human measurement, which is also an angel’s measurement. 18 The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, like clear glass.19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.

22 And I saw temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25 and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26 They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.Read full chapter

Footnotes

  1. Revelation 21:3 Or tabernacle
  2. Revelation 21:3 Some manuscripts peoples
  3. Revelation 21:3 Some manuscripts omit as their God
  4. Revelation 21:16 About 1,380 miles; a stadionwas about 607 feet or 185 meters
  5. Revelation 21:17 A cubit was about 18 inches or 45 centimeters

Go big or go…home

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God’s Spirit showed up for Zerubbabel. In the midst of facing a huge mountain, he was confident that the building would be built.

With our current U.S. housing crisis, we are seeing the obstacles that Zerubbabel may have encountered. Interest rates that look like a ginormous mountain to climb prevent many from reaching their dream of having their own place to either rent or own.

Nevertheless, God will make a way to empower His church. Our Savior (who is also “head” of the church body) took on the greatest obstacle of all when he moved locations, being divine but in very human conditions. He did not go big but he did come “home”. #manger

His earthly home was secure with parents who were handpicked by the Father. Maybe they did not have much in regards to worldly wealth, yet Mary and Joseph had a home where God’s name was revered.

This Christmas season, we can rejoice in making our hearts Christ’s home. In so doing, he will miraculously make us part of His great building, the church.- Teresa #Hisglory #Hiswork #makesuslessbig #bringsmehome

I Corinthians 3: 8-17 (ESV)

8 The one who plants and the one who waters work as one, but each will receive his reward according to his work. 9 We are coworkers belonging to God. You are God’s field, God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master-builder I laid a foundation, but someone else builds on it. And each one must be careful how he builds. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than what is being laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw,13 each builder’s work will be plainly seen, for the Day will make it clear, because it will be revealed by fire. And the fire will test what kind of work each has done.14 If what someone has built survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If someone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss. He himself will be saved, but only as through fire. 16
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? 17 If someone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, which is what you are.

Zechariah 4:6-10 (ESV)

6 Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. 7 Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain. And he shall bring forward the top stone amid shouts of ‘Grace, grace to it!’”

8 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying,9 “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also complete it. Then you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. 10 For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice, and shall see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.

…From Matthew Henry’s commentary regarding this passage in Zechariah: “The church is a golden candlestick, or lamp-bearer, set up for enlightening this dark world, and holding forth the light of Divine revelation. Two olive trees were seen, one on each side the candlestick, from which oil flowed into the bowl without ceasing. God brings to pass his gracious purposes concerning his church, without any art or labour of man; sometimes he makes use of his instruments, yet he needs them not. This represented the abundance of Divine grace, for the enlightening and making holy the ministers and members of the church, and which cannot be procured or prevented by any human power. The vision assures us that the good work of building the temple, should be brought to a happy end. The difficulty is represented as a great mountain. But all difficulties shall vanish, and all the objections be got over. Faith will remove mountains, and make them plains. Christ is our Zerubbabel; mountains of difficulty were in the way of his undertaking, but nothing is too hard for him. What comes from the grace of God, may, in faith, be committed to the grace of God, for he will not forsake the work of his own hands. Verses 8-10 The exact fulfilment of Scripture prophecies is a convincing proof of their Divine original. Though the instruments be weak and unlikely, yet God often chooses such, to bring about great things by them. Let not the dawning light be despised; it will shine more and more to the perfect day. Those who despaired of finishing the work, shall rejoice when they see Zerubbabel giving directions what to do, and taking care that the work be done. It is a comfort to us that the same all-wise, almighty Providence, which governs the earth, is in particular conversant about the church. All that have the plummet in their hands, must look up to the eyes of the Lord, have constant regard to Divine Providence, act in dependence on its guidance and submission to its disposals. Let us fix our faith on Christ, and view Him carrying on his work according to his own glorious plan, and daily bringing his spiritual building nearer to completion.”

Shake it off

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It was a wonderful trip to San Jose this week to attend our son’s graduation ceremony.

There was a time when getting a degree, especially a master’s hood meant so much to me.

Watching our son’s hooding ceremony, I was surprised to realize that I’ve lost my desire to pursue that again.

Me, the lifelong student (which I still am) am finally coming to embrace that it is God who teaches me through the guidance of His Holy Spirit.

That is not to diminish such important work at the University level (especially for our son). He gave me a wonderful Christmas gift by posing for a picture with his arms around his parents in full regalia! Proud parent moment!!!

Many times, healing arrives when I can “shake off” life-long pursuits, especially if that pursuit kept me from seeing God’s first and foremost place in my life.

In this passage, the phrase “for his steadfast love endures forever” is repeated 26 times. The Psalms are a book of poems or songs. When the Psalmist repeats a phrase it is to emphasize its truth. This is true beyond a doubt: the Lord’s steadfast love endures forever.

Verse 15 rejoices in God’s protection of Israel when they escaped the bondage of Egypt. He actually shook off the thing that held them captive (which was Pharaoh and his host).

Are there strongholds holding you back from freedom? What does God need to shake off of your life? Falsehoods grip and control us, God’s truth releases and frees us to love ourselves and others.

As I thank the Lord for his character of steadfast love this week, I am encouraged by those in my life who remind me of how much God not only does battle for my mind but crowns my life with His love and compassion.- Teresa #Sabbathrest

His Steadfast Love Endures Forever

Psalm 136English Standard Version

136 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
2 Give thanks to the God of gods,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
for his steadfast love endures forever;

4 to him who alone does great wonders,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
5 to him who by understanding made the heavens,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
6 to him who spread out the earth above the waters,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
7 to him who made the great lights,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
8 the sun to rule over the day,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
9 the moon and stars to rule over the night,
for his steadfast love endures forever;

10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
11 and brought Israel out from among them,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
12 with a strong hand and an outstretched arm,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
13 to him who divided the Red Sea in two,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
14 and made Israel pass through the midst of it,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
15 but overthrew[a] Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
16 to him who led his people through the wilderness,
for his steadfast love endures forever;

17 to him who struck down great kings,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
18 and killed mighty kings,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
19 Sihon, king of the Amorites,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
20 and Og, king of Bashan,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
21 and gave their land as a heritage,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
22 a heritage to Israel his servant,
for his steadfast love endures forever.

23 It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
24 and rescued us from our foes,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
25 he who gives food to all flesh,
for his steadfast love endures forever.

26 Give thanks to the God of heaven,
for his steadfast love endures forever.

Read full chapter

Footnotes

a.Psalm 136:15 Hebrew shook off

White stones and new names

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I’ve always prayed to have a life of ministry, influencing those around me. The Lord has assured me that my biggest impact and ministry will be through our children. Their lives will reach this world with His love, much greater than anything I imagined for my own life.

You may wonder who the Nicolaitans were (referenced in the passage below). I found this on website,Bible study.org: “Like Simon Magus, whom the early apostles also confronted, the Nicolaitans introduced the concept of using the name of Jesus for commercial gain, dominance and control. After all, the concept had worked quite well in the pagan temples of the vast gentile world, generating wealth and revenue for many societies” (Nicholas and Xmas by C. Franklin).”

Watching the Christmas classic, “Miracle on 34th Street”, I was reminded of how often at this time of year I start with being grateful for God’s gift but get so easily distracted by what’s in it for me?

Clearly, the art of resting in our Father’s purpose becomes the way we are metamorphosed into something much better than our human ideas.

You alone will know the new name (aka character) God has written on your stone, revealed fully in His time. -Teresa #life-givingmanna #Jesusisthebreadoflife

Revelation 2: 12-17 (ESV)

To the Church in Pergamum

12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.

13 “‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith[b] even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality.15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’

John 6:31-40 (NET)

31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, just as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 Then Jesus told them, “I tell you the solemn truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but my Father is giving you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 So they said to him, “Sir, give us this bread all the time!”35
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. The one who comes to me will never go hungry, and the one who believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But I told you that you have seen me and still do not believe. 37Everyone whom the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never send away.38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. 39 Now this is the will of the one who sent me – that I should not lose one person of every one he has given me, but raise them all up at the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father – for everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him to have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Loving God means love each other!

My dad with our oldest son

My dad had a soft spot in his heart for our oldest son. You can see the gentleness on his face as he held him. My dad was not always gentle. He grew up in the Upper Peninsula of MI, his father was an iron ore miner. Those who are “Yoopers” need no further explanation. If the harsh winter weather didn’t kill you, the tough conditions that the miners endured drove most of them to drink.

The oldest son, according to our Finnish culture, was responsible for his mom and the family property. Because of his birth order, my father gave up any chance to attend college, but he proudly watched all five of HIS children (raised on a blue-collar wage) graduate from four-year Universities.

In this passage, I’m challenged to take a moment to know when to be gentle and when to be “no-nonsense” (like my dad). Those who are false- full of lies or deceit- are not operating from God’s Spirit.

Fear is absent in the presence of love. On the other hand, falsehoods and deceit can threaten people’s reputations or livelihoods, aka make people act cowardly out of fear. Love is based on trust, knowing God’s intentions toward us are for life everlasting (not destruction).

One of my seminary professors, Dr. Merilyn Copland, taught us Hebrew. She explained why the “law” to an Israelite is a source of joy and celebration. It was God pouring down a blessing on His people to abundantly provide for them should they choose to follow it! In light of that, who would NOT follow the Ten Commandments, the most important of God’s laws?

With God’s Spirit abiding in us and His provision around us, we can exude love for others. This may appear at times gentle and at other times “no nonsense”.

Although my dad went to be with the Lord quite a few years ago, his example lives on. One thing is for certain, people know when they are loved. -Teresa #confidence

1 John 4English Standard Version

Test the Spirits

4 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. 4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

God Is Love

7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot[a] love God whom he has not seen.21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.