Whether I’m an injured soul or an energetic body, God keeps me.
Whether I slumber or sleep, God keeps me.
He made the heavens and the earth. He shades me from the striking rays of daytime sun and the eery moonbeams of night.
He keeps me from evil. He keeps me alive. He keeps me going out and coming in not just today but forever.
I was awakened at 3 a.m to pray by my bedside last Sunday. Although I wasn’t sure why, I responded by bending my knees to the maker of heaven and earth.
The next day, I knew it was for a dear sister in Christ. She told her story to my mom and me. We were both moved to care for her, spiritually.
Although I have heard many life stories, (some more impactful and dramatic than others), I am never the less moved every time (when told by a genuine soul). This is because of the presence of the Holy Spirit. He comforts and faithfully guides each of us when the path is not clear.
Will He do less for me today?
I lift my eyes to you, Lord, past the idols of pride and knowledge lined up on the hillside. You have helped me with this complex problem(s). You alone are my help!
The beast of lust and selfish gain are on the throne but wait… there is no longer room for beauty and honor.
If someone wants you to do something beware if they are not willing to do the same. To them, information (from what they are told) is power they would love to use in order to twist and violate the beauty in others (vs. truth about themselves to help change or transform them).
Ammon took the beauty and good intention of Tamar and ruined it for his selfish gain. He had no remorse and did not suffer any ill effects from his dirty scheming and deeds.
Strangely enough, the only time Ammon was visibly upset in this passage was when he could not have what he wanted- someone else’s virtue and value. #psychopath
Unfortunately, that’s how sin works, it not only traps the sinner but stains the victims in close contact with or “used” by the sinner.
Our hope is found in Romans 7. Paul talks about being a slave to sin in his body and in his mind a slave to the law (reminding him of what he loves and what is right). He calls out, “Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (V. 24, NET). “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (v.25, NET).
When we are saved by grace, we must not spurn it (thereby crucifying Christ again) by the works of the flesh. This holds true for those caught up in performance-based Christianity and also for those caught up in the lie of Satan that they can sin without judgment “so that grace will abound”.
Those who are truly His, bear the fruit of the Spirit and are known by that.
Being straight with God and others means one thing, trusting that God sees all (not just an empty word or facade). He sees our hearts. There is no one on earth who can out-manipulate or control God, the Father. He alone has out-maneuvered the Beast, by sending His Son to die on our behalf.
For those who have been victimized or hurt by those continuing to live in lust and selfish gain, keep a strong boundary. It is God’s will to love each person uniquely. One such person in my life is “harshly” loved by God- and He reminds me (through the Holy Spirit), “no compromise”.
Beauty is the result of our heaven-sent Savior restoring what has been lost to sin. The first book of the Bible (Genesis) shows that sin separated mankind from God. The last book of the Bible (Revelation) shows the solution -God dwells again with mankind through the ONE who broke the curse of sin, Jesus Christ the LORD.
Restore us, Lord, for your good purpose. – Teresa #brokenminds #shadowedhearts #paradiselost #paradiserestored
2 Samuel 13:1-19 (ESV)
Amnon and Tamar
13 Now Absalom, David’s son, had a beautiful sister, whose name was Tamar. And after a time Amnon, David’s son, loved her. 2 And Amnon was so tormented that he made himself ill because of his sister Tamar, for she was a virgin, and it seemed impossible to Amnon to do anything to her. 3 But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah, David’s brother. And Jonadab was a very crafty man. 4 And he said to him, “O son of the king, why are you so haggard morning after morning? Will you not tell me?” Amnon said to him, “I love Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.”5 Jonadab said to him, “Lie down on your bed and pretend to be ill. And when your father comes to see you, say to him, ‘Let my sister Tamar come and give me bread to eat, and prepare the food in my sight, that I may see it and eat it from her hand.’”6 So Amnon lay down and pretended to be ill. And when the king came to see him, Amnon said to the king, “Please let my sister Tamar come and make a couple of cakes in my sight, that I may eat from her hand.”
7 Then David sent home to Tamar, saying, “Go to your brother Amnon’s house and prepare food for him.” 8 So Tamar went to her brother Amnon’s house, where he was lying down. And she took dough and kneaded it and made cakes in his sight and baked the cakes. 9 And she took the pan and emptied it out before him, but he refused to eat. And Amnon said, “Send out everyone from me.” So everyone went out from him. 10 Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the food into the chamber, that I may eat from your hand.” And Tamar took the cakes she had made and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother. 11 But when she brought them near him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, “Come, lie with me, my sister.” 12 She answered him, “No, my brother, do not violate[a] me, for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this outrageous thing. 13 As for me, where could I carry my shame? And as for you, you would be as one of the outrageous fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you.” 14 But he would not listen to her, and being stronger than she, he violated her and lay with her.
15 Then Amnon hated her with very great hatred, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, “Get up! Go!” 16 But she said to him, “No, my brother, for this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other that you did to me.”[b]But he would not listen to her. 17 He called the young man who served him and said, “Put this woman out of my presence and bolt the door after her.” 18 Now she was wearing a long robe with sleeves,[c] for thus were the virgin daughters of the king dressed. So his servant put her out and bolted the door after her. 19 And Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the long robe that she wore. And she laid her hand on her head and went away, crying aloud as she went.
When the Father gave “sheep” to Jesus, He promised that no one could snatch them from His hand. More importantly, He provided the seal of the Holy Spirit over their hearts. The Holy Spirit is like “voice recognition” in the believer’s life.
As Christ’s follower, I am able to not only hear the shepherd’s voice but to recognize and respond to it while avoiding any counterfeit voice (aka the spirit of anti-Christ).
Awhile back, I sat at the deathbed of a long-time believer who had doubts at the end of his time on earth. I encouraged him to trust the Bible (God’s voice). Although I was wearing nursing scrubs, with not much time- since I was on my break, he saw in my eyes the childlike faith that was planted 20 years prior when I was merely 9 years old. I had the opportunity to rededicate my life to Christ at a Billy Graham Crusade at that young age. Without a doubt, I knew the Holy Spirit was asking me to publicly acknowledge Jesus as Lord and to speak up for Him.
In this passage, Jesus is clearly stating that He and the Father (along with the coming Holy Spirit) are ONE. The public expression of this truth was not popular. (The trinity is made up of 3 persons but ONE being). See the late Nabeel Qureshi’s You Tube: Trinity explained (6:00-8:14). Jesus took a risk as these words were inflammatory language in the Jewish culture. A risk that was recorded for all time so that we could hear His witness.
We should never underestimate the power of a witness telling their story. This is especially true of someone like John the Baptist. He helped others to “hear” the Christ, and to show their repentance (an outward sign of water baptism). He also explained to his disciples that ONE was coming who would baptize them with fire (the Holy Spirit, causing inner transformation ).
We are so valuable to the Father that He gave what was best (His Son) so that we could experience true joy (being part of His family).
Listening for His unique voice. – Teresa #takeastand #beawitness #followHim
John 10:22-42 (ESV)
22 At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me,26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me,[a] is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.30 I and the Father are one.”
31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him.32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” 33 The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’?35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— 36 do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” 39 Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.
40 He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained. 41 And many came to him. And they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” 42 And many believed in him there.
Are you thirsty? Jesus promises the Holy Spirit (aka comforter) to those who become part of God’s family.
When my husband and I returned from a year of ministry in North Africa, I was actively seeking God’s plan. I was reading the prophet, Isaiah, who spoke about my thirst being quenched and my hunger being satisfied as part of God’s covenant promise that was worthy of my trust. I felt the inner moving of the Holy Spirit remind me that although I thought we were leaving the opportunity of full-time ministry, instead we were returning to an even more dire spiritual need in America (involving “life-time” ministry).
Do you have the resources to buy food and drink that are considered “fine”? If not, God offers the finest food and drink to all of us without cost.
What holds us back then from partaking in Christ’s offer? If it’s not money (resources) or understanding (2 Peter 1:21), then it must be will.
The spiritual battle for the hearts of mankind remains amidst the tremendous offer of eternal life.
Why? This type of faith requires a death to “self”, which means it may not feel comfortable. Enduring what is considered the “cross” (identifying with Christ), means not my will but the Father’s be done.
Jesus’ life, death, burial and resurrection becomes my perspective and history as well. It’s possible to be fully loved (sated) yet fully involved in God’s purposes around me (not always comfortable). It may not appear as I thought it should “look”.
For example, I can’t judge my worth (i.e. no one sees me) by how I’m viewed in a large church (business-run model vs early house-church model). This is not proof of God’s value system. My seminary professor and ministry mentor, Dr. David Eckman says it like this, “You are worth a Son to God!” This truth may be the most needed message in America today.
Amongst us, people are most valued for their skills or ability to buy the latest and greatest. Our Heavenly Father delighted in us even while we were still sinners, He sent His Son to die for us-giving us the opportunity to be made right, spiritually.
Thank you, Father, for the gift of faith!! …even as small as a mustard seed, I see that you are making it grow and spread exponentially for Your purpose. -Teresa #lovedbeyondallmeasure #trustHim #nowthatissatisfying
John 7: 37-39 (ESV)
37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as[a] the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
Isaiah 55: 1-3 NET
The Lord Gives an Invitation “Hey, all who are thirsty, come to the water! You who have no money, come! Buy and eat! Come! Buy wine and milk without money and without cost! 2 Why pay money for something that will not nourish you? Why spend your hard-earned money on something that will not satisfy? Listen carefully to me and eat what is nourishing! Enjoy fine food! 3 Pay attention and come to me! Listen, so you can live! Then I will make an unconditional covenantal promise to you, just like the reliable covenantal promises I made to David.
6 So she went down to the threshing floor and did just as her mother-in-law had commanded her.7 And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. Then she came softly and uncovered his feet and lay down. 8 At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet! 9 He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings[c] over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” 10 And he said, “May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich. 11 And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman. 12 And now it is true that I am a redeemer. Yet there is a redeemer nearer than I. 13 Remain tonight, and in the morning, if he will redeem you, good; let him do it. But if he is not willing to redeem you, then, as the Lord lives, I will redeem you. Lie down until the morning.”
Being covered or protected by an influential man in the community meant the survival and prosperity of this particular tribe of Israel (Judah).
Btw…Judah had been a harsh father- in- law to Tamar but God blessed her with twin boys: Perez and Zerah (Genesis 38). God was actively involved in the preservation of His chosen people.
I can’t help but ponder how this passage inspires us, when we waver spiritually. Will we go back to our biological family (Moab) or will we choose to be “born again“ into a new family. This is a spiritual beginning when we come willingly to the redeemer of our soul.
Every day we have a choice to nurture the needs of the flesh or to walk by faith into what God has planned for us. Don’t assume, just ask and God will see this to completion.
Father, you provide so plentifully, beyond all that we can ask or imagine. – Teresa #richlyloved
Does the thought of going on a road trip make you happy? I remember going on an 8-hour drive, with my niece driving. Her commentary on the way (along with her expressiveness) had me laughing almost the entire time. Sometimes, the mundane or boring events can bring about our best memories.
In this passage, Jesus wanted to be with Cleopas and his fellow traveler. Neither the walk nor the road were as important as the company he was with and the teaching experience it provided.
Jesus wants to be near us when we doubt. He wants to fill our hearts with the passion of His love burning brightly. When was the last time you knew that Jesus wanted to show you something, teach you a new concept from the Bible or to help you believe the Father’s love for you in a way that you never thought possible?
Listen to this song to begin opening your heart to Him as Savior and Lord of your life. https://youtu.be/pKF_nNh4n8c (CeCe Winans- Goodness of God). I had to listen twice- first time in “face down” prayer, confessing all the hurts in my life (that keep me from singing about God’s goodness right now). Second time, with hands raised and knowing His peace that passes all understanding, grateful for His presence and comfort.
Lord, help us to “recognize” you as we rejoice always, pray without ceasing and in everything give you thanks. (I Thessalonians 5:16-18) #Hiswill #ourmatureresponse #gratitude
Luke 21:13-33 (ESV)
On the Road to Emmaus
13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened.22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning,23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” 25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.
28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther,29 but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”
My father was a good man, he left an inheritance of faith and responsibility to his children’s children (through his kids). He worked faithfully to care for all his needs and the needs of his family.
As a yearling, a young buck may feel that he doesn’t have much to give. Not my father, even in his younger years, he was handling the responsibility of his father’s land, property and the needs of his mother. (Since my grandfather died at a young age).
This type of faithful work, which some may consider boring or not very “Spirit-led”, is actually a difficult task. If we are faithful in these difficult things, God blesses us with more. The little things include how to manage money well and the application turns into having enough left over to share in community with others (i.e. not putting it on credit).
The heart to share with others comes through the impact of the good news of the gospel. As God changes us from the inside out, we are transformed to see His gifts as a blessing.
I’m not talking about robbing from Peter to pay Paul or being a “Robin Hood” (stealing from the rich to give to the poor). I’m talking about doing the hard work over many years even when it’s boring. God honors this when it is done through faith.
There will always be a few trying to scam others, or hoping to get something for nothing. In the end, God metes out justice…as the writer of Proverbs says, “The sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous”.
There are times when injustice prevails in our world, we are called to help during those times as Christ’s church. Lord, please open our eyes to the needs you see around us. Please give us your faith to reach out and touch them for your sake. – Teresa #responsibility #faith
Proverbs 13:20-23English Standard Version
20 Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. 21 Disaster[a] pursues sinners, but the righteous are rewarded with good. 22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous. 23 The fallow ground of the poor would yield much food, but it is swept away through injustice.
Although the kingdom of God was not recognized by the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, it was in their midst. He became a “gate”way for the sheep to enter in. (John 10:7)
In much the same way, when this current period of time known as the “church age” (that we live in now) is over, “the way into God’s kingdom” will not be found again. The gate will be shut and sealed. Think of the time when Noah shut the door of the ark and God sealed it.
That same time is when the revelation of the Son of Man will be Mighty and Awesome! That day will be astoundingly apparent (as much as the kingdom of God was hidden in Jesus’ day).
Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
Are you part of God’s kingdom? It may not be outwardly evident to others in relation to the world’s standards of success. The good news is that God sees the heart. He knows those who are His.
Where will the revelation of the Son of Man happen? It will be known by the gathering of vultures.
You may ask, “what died in order for all these vultures to be gathered”? It may be that the fleshly man has been put to death in order to be joined to His life-giving spirit. #resurrection
20 Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”[c]
22 And he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. 23 And they will say to you, ‘Look, there!’ or ‘Look, here!’ Do not go out or follow them. 24 For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day.[d]25 But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. 26 Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.28 Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, 29 but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— 30 so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife.33 Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. 34 I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. 35 There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.”[e]37 And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse[f] is, there the vultures[g] will gather.”
How can I have God’s kingdom influence my life? Although it may seem small or insignificant, I can exercise my faith (aka trust) in God’s word.
As small as a mustard seed is, I am amazed at how pervasive it is. We drove to Morro Bay a while back and there was a mudslide that blocked the 2-lane highway ahead. Our 2-hour trip turned into 5 hours. I had way too much time to study the mustard in the fields, beautiful and bright. We also listened to a Louis L’Amour book on tape . The story describing the early American landscape only served to accent the beauty out the car window.
When I start feeling insecure about the kingdom of this world, I think of the mustard field. Just remember that the more seeds of faith that are planted in our lives, the more established God’s kingdom becomes.
– Teresa # beautifulandbright
Luke 13:18-21 (ESV)
The Mustard Seed and the Leaven
18 He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? 19 It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”
20 And again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? 21 It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.”
Although it’s my birthday this week, I am reminded of a very sweet gift given to me when I was around 5 years old.
My mom prayed with me to receive Jesus as the Savior of my life. You may ask what does a child need to be saved from? They are usually pretty amazing and cute!!
So I’m told that I was an easy baby and loved to watch my older brother and sister. But on Easter Sunday, I was caught crawling across the room in order to uncover their hidden chocolate bunnies, and proceeded to devour them!! I was probably about one-year old.
Truly, I still love to eat sweets and if I wish to take something from another, may try to do it “under cover” or at least in my mind make up a good reason it should be mine. (Not outright stealing, only a good amount of rationalizing, especially re: left-over dessert)
Nevertheless, one thing I do know is that we are all born with a sin nature (thanks to Adam). Nobody is perfect!
The sweetest part of the Bible’s message is that God knows us. The curse of the law reminds us that we have a sin nature and no one can keep the law perfectly. (Romans 3:23)
God sent His Son, Jesus Christ the Lord, to take the penalty of the law’s death sentence for sin. (Romans 6:23) He also reminded us that this is a gift that must be received. (John 1:12)
Yes, being made right with God is beyond our human condition. But humbling ourselves to receive His gift is well within our ability. (Mark 10:15)
Happy spiritual Birthday to anyone who took a moment to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior today. You are now redeemed or bought back for God’s purpose.
-Teresa #kingdomofGod #Romans5:8 #newcreation
Deuteronomy 21: 22,23 (ESV)
A Man Hanged on a Tree Is Cursed
22 “And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God. You shall not defile your land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance.
Galations 3:13 (KJV)
13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14
Mark 10:15 (NIV)
15 “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”