Seeking the Lord of Compassion: His Light to Dispel Our Blindness

 29 As Jesus and His disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed Him. 30 Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” 32 Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want Me to do for you?” He asked.33 “Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” 34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed Him. (Matthew 20:29-34)

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In a recent eye exam, I was given the usual sight test to determine my visual acuity. After shielding my left eye with an eye patch, I was asked to read the letters on the screen. Straining to attempt to see something I could recognize, she enlarged the letters. Still straining to identify even one letter, I had to admit to her that I could not see anything clearly enough for identification. She, then, moved the patch to the right eye. I could see every line for 20/20 vision in my left eye. I don’t know what it’s like to be blind, but even the reduction of sight in one eye is concerning. It results in a new appreciation of the God-given gift of our eyes.

Having total loss of sight resulted in two blind men shouting to Jesus, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” They knew His lineage; they knew His power; they asked for His mercy. They boldly stated their request for sight, knowing He could give that to them. And Jesus responded with compassion, touching their eyes. There was no time lapse in healing. Sight was immediate!

The touch of the Savior. He is always within our sight. But can we see His presence in our lives? Are we aware of His power as the blind men were who could not see?

Blindness can be more than a physical impairment. It can be the absence of a caring heart toward others. It can be a severe lack of understanding, becoming blinded by untruth, false beliefs and teachings and opinions of men or women. Our sight is dimmed. The Light is gone, so we become the blind in a world that desperately needs the vision of the cross and the sight of the Savior—yet does not see.

Once the blind men had been given the gift of sight, they saw what they must do—and followed Jesus. It is what we must do to truly see the path in this life that leads us to an eternal home with the Lord.

The touch of the Savior. The compassion in His eyes as He looks at us. Will we see? Will we ask to see? Will we be healed from His touch, because we believe that His Light will dispel our blindness? Will we follow Him?

Look to the Lord and His strength;
    seek His face always. (I Chronicles 16:11)

(Sharon G. Tate blog 11/18/18)  teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

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Our Example in Christ: Giving Sacrificially

 

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesuswho, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

(Philippians 2:5-8)

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When my son was in middle school, he was big enough to be a helper shoveling snow. Of course, being a kid, playing in the snow was what he would rather do. Yet, there were several days that he chose to go shovel–by himself. . .

My son and I started shoveling together at a friend’s home when the fatigue she experienced from cancer became overwhelming. It was a good opportunity to teach empathy, compassion and giving with no expectation of getting something in return, except the knowledge that we were doing this out of caring for someone else.

My friend was soon placed in a care facility as her cancer rapidly progressed. No one was at the house. A big snow came, and my son asked to go outside and shovel. However, I soon discovered it wasn’t our drive he was shoveling. He had gone to her house and was doing the whole drive by himself. He said it didn’t matter if she was there or not. My son wanted to keep it open for her—for when she came home. He continued to do this for several more snows.

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“Heroes”

We read and hear about the heroes who give their lives—veterans of war and conflict, first responders in a tragic occurrence, teachers and citizens who stand up and protect others while sacrificing self. We may wonder if we could have been them at that time, in that circumstance, in that place.

We may not read and hear about the silent heroes who give sacrificially daily as caregivers, as mothers of young children, as fathers working two jobs, as behind-the-scenes volunteers who cuddle and calm the opioid-addicted babies, as hospice volunteers who sit by the bedsides of the dying with no family, holding their hands to the last breath.

But we can read about the One who gave the ultimate sacrifice for us all. Jesus bore our sins, though sinless; He suffered humiliation and torture, though innocent; He forgave those who crucified Him, though they were guilty; He died that we might live eternally, though we never deserved such mercy and grace.

Our society desperately needs those who would strive to be Christ-like and have more empathy, more compassion, more giving of self. We each need to be that “hero” who would give so completely and empty self for others.

Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself

 and take up his cross and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24)

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The little boy shoveling the snow all alone for someone who never saw it, doing it out of selfless caring and love– just a kid who would rather play in the snow but chose to give the gift of himself in a labor of love– was that “hero” in that time, in that circumstance, in that place.

I had to tell him she wasn’t coming home, and he could put down the shovel, that she knew he was doing it for her and she was grateful for his sacrifice. The instrument: A shovel. The life lesson: Denial of self for another.

And the Teacher continues to instruct us always in the lessons of selfless giving,

maybe through the heart of a child.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 11/11/18) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

God’s Children are Never Orphaned

 

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27)

The Orphan Child

I hunger.

I thirst.

I cry out.

Who hears?

I am alone.

Homeless.

Orphaned.

Fatherless.

My reality.

A statistic?

Who is responsible for these children? We are told in God’s Word that the responsibility for their care is OURS.

But we may not see these children, some would contend. Surely, others who are closer to these orphans are more responsible?

Our justifications, claims, assertions, contentions do not exempt us from the calling to “look after orphans and widows in their distress.” I am as responsible as anyone who physically lives nearby and passes the orphan child living on the street.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus was asked to define who is our neighbor. He told the parable of a man who was beaten, robbed, and left to die. Three men passed by this man but only one stopped to help. Jesus asked, “Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?” 37 “The one who treated him kindly,” the religion scholar responded. Jesus said, “Go and do the same.” (Luke 10:36-37)

Let us “go and do the same” to those in need. We cannot pass them by. We are called to be compassionate like Christ.

We are His hands, His arms, His feet, His eyes, His ears, His voice, His heart in this life. We have the way and means to give to these children and help care for them, as we are called to do. Through organizations like Orphan’s Lifeline International, we can financially offer an orphan child a meal, clothing, shelter, survival.

 Together, we can give hope to the orphan child who cries out, waiting to be heard.

 (Sharon G. Tate blog 11/04/18) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

God’s Glory of Change: Passing Through Life’s Seasons

 

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life?

You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:14)

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The day was cloudy and somewhat brisk, a typical fall day. Leaves were falling to the ground as the wind picked up. I looked at the changing leaves ahead on my drive to the church building and knew winter was in the air. My thoughts became true all too soon as heavy flakes began dropping from the sky, making visibility difficult. I was now making my way through a blizzard of snow.

I had to scrape heavy, wet snow off my car after I completed printing the church    bulletin. Yet, two hours later, the snow disappeared, and the green grass was visible once again. It could have been the start of spring, except for the events that had just occurred and the changing colors of falling leaves.

The seasons seemed to play out before me in a few hours. God’s glory of change. We live through the seasons in our lives, not quite expecting the fall to come so soon or the winter to hit us with the reality of its arrival. Are we truly prepared?

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. 

(Proverbs 27:1)

 13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15)

 “Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days;
    let me know how fleeting my life is.

You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
the span of my years is as nothing before You.
Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure. 
(Psalm 39:4-5)

 In the season of our lives when the leaves are falling to the ground, variant hues            swirling downward, we should become more introspective by examining our lives and the number of days, how fleeting. They fade before us like the fallen leaves that  become brittle, crumbling within our hands.

In preparation for the inevitable snow and cold of our winter season, we know, with assurance through Him, that new life awaits in an eternal season of spring.

God’s glory of change. His renewal of life. The snow melts,  and the grass is green once again.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?   (Matthew 6:25-27)

Through each season, God is there. We must trust in Him to help us through each change, knowing that a new life awaits us after this one ceases to be. For some, the time may come before the falling of leaves, the autumn of their days.

Therefore, we must be prepared to meet our Lord through each season of                              accountability  before God.

Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure.

 (Sharon G. Tate blog 10/28/18) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

OUR POWER SOURCE—OUR LORD AND OUR GOD!

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is Yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD,  and You are exalted as head above all.   (2 Chronicles 29:11)

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NO POWER?

My good friend and I had each driven a distance to meet, have lunch, and share our lives through the meaningful conversation we always have when we get together. This time, it appeared that we had no place to do any of this when we were confronted with the news that the entire town was without power due to a main transformer being hit. The manager was just locking the door to the restaurant . . .

“NO POWER” IS NEVER A CONCERN WHEN WE ARE CONNECTED WITH GOD!

— For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. . . (Romans 1:20)

 — Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through Whom also He created the world.  He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power. (Hebrews 1:1-3)

–And said, “O Lord, God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In Your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand You. (2 Chronicles 20:6)

–And all the crowd sought to touch Him, for power came out from Him and healed them all. (Luke 6:19)

–Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. (Ephesians 3: 20-21)

 –For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. (1 Corinthians 4:20)

 — And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by His power. (I Corinthians 6:14)

 –And what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His great might 20 that He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. (Ephesians 1: 19-21)

 POWER IS FROM THE LORD. HE IS OUR SOURCE OF STRENGTH.

 For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)

We are “they”– and we are without excuse. It is clear Who our power source is. When we choose our own source, we face outages and are without the source of Light we need.  We become weak, losing the connection to His strength.

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. . .   My friend and I asked to just sit inside the restaurant, so we could, at least, talk for a while. The power had not been off long enough to prevent us from having some of the salad bar and two cookies for dessert. We moved closer to the windows, to have access to light– the Power Source from Him.  And we prayed and gave thanks.

Our connectivity to God is available 24/7. 

We only need to stay close to the Power Source.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 10/21/18) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

Setting our Minds on Things Above

 

               Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. . .  (Proverbs 3:5)

Hope:  Tomorrow will be a better day.

Expectation: Tomorrow will be a better day.

What tone of voice is speaking in our heads when we think these thoughts?

What attitude controls the outcome of hope or expectation?

When we think in terms of this world, we may tend to hope for something better but not be fully assured that it will come to be. Hope in this sense is an uncertainty that isn’t necessarily expected: “I don’t know, but I hope it will happen.”

On the other hand, our hope in Christ is an expectation with strong certainty: “I do know and expect that this will happen through Him.”

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. (I Timothy 1:7)

 Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe. (Proverbs 28:26)

 ATTITUDE:

It drives our moods, our behaviors, our relationships, our plans, our goals, our ability to reach out to others and make a difference for Christ.

 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

EXPECTATION: 

It is our hope in Christ, the promise that we know will come to pass,  in our attitude of belief and trust in Him.

2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. (Colossians 3:2-4)

 MINDSET: ABOVE ⇑

(Sharon G. Tate blog 10/14/18) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

Abundant Gifts from God in Our Daily Routine– If We Just Knew

 

 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink,  you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.”

John 4:10

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I raised the faucet handle and instantly had water, hot to the left and cold to the right. I didn’t reflect about this experience. It was just a normal, daily routine that I repeated throughout the day. Yet, across the pond from me, the owners in that building were without running water for hours due to plumbing repairs. They anticipated the time when the water would be back on, so they could return to their normal, daily routine. . .

STOP and THINK.  THINK and BE THANKFUL.

A “routine” can affect our level of gratitude. It can make us forget to appreciate what is a daily gift that others don’t have as a routine experience. This daily gift of water is from God. It is life-giving and life-sustaining.  It is an abundant blessing bestowed on us from the Father who cares for us always. That is God’s love.

 The “routine” day-to-day experience becomes something else when we look at how God provides:

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. (Psalm 23:1)

 2“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; 3 my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—from violent people you save me. “I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and have been saved from my enemies. (2 Samuel 22:2-4)

 Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them. (Hebrews 7:25)

 (38) For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, (39) neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)

If we just knew “the gift of God” –we would receive the living water from Him.

Within our daily routine are unwrapped gifts from God.

Are we aware? Do we see?

STOP and THINK. THINK and BE THANKFUL.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 10/07/18) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

The Real Thing: Joy in the Lord

It was my grandson’s fourth birthday. I called to do a video chat with him, so I could wish him “Happy Birthday” in real time and in person through technology as we live a distance from each other. At the new age of four, he was a moving target all over the room with the phone. I had to constantly tell him I couldn’t see him on my phone. At one point, he, apparently, hit something on the phone he had and lost me on the screen. Calling out loudly to my son, he yelled: “Dad, I lost the grandma!”

This was, of course, a live call. “The grandma” was not an avatar. But even at the young age of four, my grandson had already become accustomed to seeing representations vs real people. Thus, I was “the grandma” and not Grandma. I was an image or icon to him, not really me.

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How often do we, in our society, substitute an image for the real thing? We want joy in life, so our image to attain “joy” becomes munching cookies, binge-watching a television show, hanging out with a crowd of people at a party, using/abusing drugs or alcohol, or . . . or . . . when all along the real Joy is ever present.

The Real Thing: Joy in the Lord’s Presence

Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)

 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

 The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing. (Proverbs 10:28)

 8 Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (I Peter 1:8-9)

The Real King: Our Lord

 Jeremiah 10:10:

—But the Lord is the true God; He is the living God, the eternal King. (NIV)

—But God is the real thing—the living God, the eternal King (The Message)                 

—But You, Lord, are the true God, You are the living God and the eternal King.  (Good News translation)

The Real Thing: Forever Joy in the Lord

 You will show me the path that leads to life;
Your presence fills me with joy
and brings me pleasure forever.

(Psalm 16:11)

 There can be no image or icon identified as “the god.” There is only God in real time, in live communication, in full Presence—and in Him, we find real joy.

 

  (Sharon G. Tate blog 09/30/18) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

Praying with Perseverance

1 Thessalonians 5:17 translations:   

Pray continually.                                                        1599 Geneva Bible                           

. . . Continually be prayerful.                                 International Standard Version   

. . . pray constantly. . .                                               Revised Standard Version

 Be unceasing in prayer.                                           Amplified Bible  

(praying perseveringly)  

Pray without ceasing.                                                           American Standard Version

. . . and never stop praying.                                    Contemporary English Version

 . . .pray at all times. . .                                                           Good News Translation

 Pray without ceasing.                                              King James Version

. . .pray all the time . . .                                            The Message

. . . without ceasing pray ye;                                  1382 Wycliffe Bible

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The message across time and translations remains the same:

constant, continual, unceasing prayer.

One version included this addition in brackets: “ praying perseveringly.”  To “persevere” is to:  “persist, continue, carry on, go on, keep on, keep going,      struggle on, hammer away, be persistent, be determined, see/follow something through, keep at it, press on/ahead, be tenacious, stand one’s ground, stand fast/firm, hold on, go the distance, stay the course, plod on, stop at nothing, leave no stone unturned, hang on, plug away, stick it out, hang in there”  (google.com).

Prayer changes lives, events, attitudes, history.  What could be different if we each prayed with unceasing perseverance? How would our lives be changed? In what ways would the world be altered? How could the Father of Lies ever      confront, intercept, or halt such a barrage of unceasing prayer?

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have   received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:24)

 This means WE are responsible. Our personal prayer lives matter. Our church family prayers matter. Our belief is crucial.  The world we live in desperately needs our intervention. The means to do this is through “praying perseveringly” to God who can—and will—respond.  “And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.” (1 John 5:15)

We must pray without ceasing! Amen and Amen!

(Sharon G. Tate blog 09/23/18) teacherforjesus.com   Meditations on God’s Word