Walking by Faith: The Sight of Blindness

 

we-walk-by-faith-not-by-sight- dark

 Snow-capped mountains, violet valleys, peaceful sands;

Earthquake ruins, flooded towns, tsunami whiplash.

We view the beauty, witness destruction, wonder why.

With mortal eyes, we watch; with spiritual eyes, we see.

Human vision is dim; Spiritual faith is Light.

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 1

 With all that our eyes can witness and watch in the world around us and beyond us, we cannot truly see/understand the creation of God and the ways of God unless we have the faith that suspends physical sight, interpretation, explanation, and analysis. Science demands a logical, tested, proven reason and answer. Faith accepts the Creator—and He is the reason and the answer.

When we close our eyes, the full panorama of the mountains, the valleys, and the sands can be seen, not merely the captured snapshot of what is physically before us with open eyes. What we can envision in this “blindness” is far greater than what we can view in the limitation of physical sight. Such is the power of inner light, what we see “by faith, not by sight.”

Through the outer light of physical sight, we view the destruction–the earthquake ruins, flooded towns, tsunami whiplash. Through the inner Light of spiritual faith, we see beyond the destruction and find the child under the collapsing debris, the woman unable to swim in flood waters, the man trapped in the pull of the wave. We change our focus to see the person, the need, and we listen to hear their cries. This happens through a God-Light within us that emits Light when we obey Him in faith.

 “Behold, a King will reign in righteousness…
The eyes of those who see will not be dim,
And the ears of those who hear will listen.” (Isaiah 32:1-3)

 When we follow the King, we walk by faith, we see with faith, and we hear in faith. In the physical sense, we are blind to the world’s view- but we are not blinded, for we have our faith and can see much more than those who view life without God-Light. Our eyes are not dim, for by faith we gain understanding and perception; our ears are not dull, for through faith we are able to listen, not just hear.

A computer can “see” mountains, valleys, sands, ruins, floods, tsunamis. It cannot close its eyes and activate a God-Light within its parts and pieces. It has no conscience, no consciousness, no soul–and human scientists cannot create this inner Light. The sight of blindness, illumed in faith from one Source, will light our way up the mountains of life, down through its beautiful valleys, and across its scorching sands. It will lead us out of the debris of self-pity, save us from the floods of emotion, and lift us out of the tsunami waves that threaten to drown us in discouragement and loss of hope. If only—we walk by faith in the sight of blindness to shine His Light within.

1  II Corinthians 5:7

 (Sharon G. Tate blog 05/01/16 ) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word 

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Turning our Hearts to the Eternal: The Things We Left Behind

treasures in heaven

“All that is not eternal is eternally useless.” 1

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Spring cleaning is upon us. Time to clean out that garage, those closets, the chest of drawers, a dusty attic, the musty basement—and purge. But, oh wait, what’s this. Why I remember when I first got this—and what about this—or this. I might just need- or want- to have these around.  And all the rest of these things…well, there is always next spring, right?

 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. (James 4:13-15)

Things. We all have them. They comprise our present comforts, current wants, newest gadgets, oldest memories. The things we have hung in closets, laid in drawers, stored in cupboards,  packed away in boxes, hooked up to charging adaptors, plugged into wall outlets, or framed in pictures will never accompany us on our eternal journey.

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)

Things:Transients Housed Inside Nesting Growing Sprouting

“Things” are external items which can gain entrance internally and occupy parts of our hearts and minds to the point of becoming our gods, because we spend so much time, money, and even devotion to them. It is more difficult for us today to separate ourselves from our things, because we have so much access to material items. Our culture promotes the latest fads, the newest cars, the most up-to-date tech gadgets, the must-have apps. We are constantly bombarded through ads, sales, and the propaganda of self to purchase things—and more things.

This “occupation of things” in our hearts and minds eventually affects our souls, leaving little room for God. Where there is storage of the temporal and transient, the true treasures should be housed and allowed to nest, grow, and sprout inside, so we can turn our hearts and minds to the eternal and everlasting.

Time for spring cleaning—before our dust becomes a mist that vanishes, and all we have to show our God are the things we left behind.

1 C.S. Lewis. Unsorted Quotes, Devotional Bits – Calvin College.https://www.calvin.edu/.

 

(Sharon G. Tate blog 04/24/16) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

ONE IN THE LORD

One in Christ

 

But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. (I Corinthians 12:24-25)

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I fell and now have several metatarsal fractures in my foot. It just involves three toes, but the pain affects my whole foot, so I begin limping. This, in turn, puts more pressure on my other leg, which affects my hip and back. Limping isn’t buffering the foot enough, so I start using crutches, putting more stress on my hands, wrists, arms, and shoulders. This also affects my neck, ultimately leading to headaches. My energy is drained from the extra effort needed to move around. All this from just three little toes . . .

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We are unable to physically separate parts of ourselves from the form that God so wondrously and marvelously created and, still, have a whole, working body. If a part is removed or is not as functional, the other parts will have to assume more responsibility. This, in turn, will affect their purpose and functionality.

Paul used the analogy of the physical body when talking about the inter-relationship and inter-dependence of members in the body- the church: 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” (I Corinthians 12:13-21)

 “No man is an island, Entire of itself . . .” 1

 What we must say to each other are the words:  “I do need you! You do need me!”  We each have God-given talents, gifts, interests, and purposes. I cannot say yours are less or greater than mine, and you cannot say mine are less or greater than yours. God has said we are all important and necessary to the functionality of the body –His church.  We are greater with each other—and less without each other.  There is a stress on the body when parts are not working with other parts:  25 . . . .  so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. (I Corinthians 12:25-26)

Made to co-exist in one body, His church, we are dependent on each other for strength, support, hope, and growth. As individual parts, we cannot thrive; our faith is weakened, our hope diminished. Together with God, we are a stronghold against Satan. “The gates of hell shall not prevail” against this body, Christ’s church (Matthew 16:18).

In our current times, when Christianity and Christians are facing persecution and challenges to faith, we must function together as one body in Christ to be that strong fortress which will prevail and endure for His purpose.

1John Donne. www.poemhunter.com

(Sharon G. Tate blog 04/16/16) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

Keeping a Mind/Heart Focus on God

 

whatever is noble etc

Truth, Honor, Justice, Purity, Loveliness, Graciousness, Excellence, Worthy of Praise

No, this is not a preview line leading us into a foreshadowing of traits we will see develop in a fictional heroine from a movie or novel. Instead, these words are from a directive by the Apostle Paul to the brethren at the church of Philippi, real people like you and me:

“(8) Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (9) What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9).

Paul’s directive to keep a mind/heart-focus toward Godly fruits of the Spirit is crucial: “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. . . (Proverbs 23:7).  What we think directs what we do and how we do it. Is it done with truth, honor, justice, purity, loveliness, graciousness, and excellence? Is it worthy of praise from God? Do we ask ourselves these questions before we act or speak?

 “Think—before you act” was one poster on my classroom door. I, sometimes, had it taped on both sides of the glass window, so students saw this message while entering and exiting from my room. Do we need a poster to remind us—to STOP and THINK before we ACT?

 What we put before our eyes will become what we see in our thoughts and, ultimately, what we do in our actions and utter in our speech.  The Israelites were told to constantly and consistently place the commandments before them and their children: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).

 I still have posters, plaques, and sayings to remind me to STOP and THINK. They are everywhere in my home. Some are included below:

**If you exit from the laundry room door to the garage, you will encounter one on that door:  “Help me to remember, Lord, that nothing’s going to happen today that you and I can’t handle together.”

**If you enter my condo from the garage, you will see the message: “God bless.”

**In my kitchen, you will see many messages, two being: “The Lord is my light and salvation.” (Psalm 27:1) and “Lord, guide me with your gentle hand.”

**In the dining room, there is the plaque “Prayer changes things” and the name “JESUS” in a wooden cast that some cannot clearly see until it is pointed out—and, from then on, it is before them.

**Moving to the living room, there is a picture of a deer herd near a stream of water with this scripture imprinted beneath:  “As the deer pants for water, so my soul pants for thee” (Psalm 42:1).

**In the hall, I have a crewel-embroidered and cross-stitched picture that I made of the 23rd Psalm.

**My favorite scripture is in my bedroom on the bedpost: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). It is before me—and beside me–every morning and every night.

What reminds you to have a heart/mind focus on God and these fruits of the Spirit, to think always upon these things: Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, whatever is excellent and whatever is worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8) 

                What is before you—that reminds you constantly and consistently of God?

(Sharon G. Tate blog 04/10/16) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

GO YE! “WITH GOD, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE”

With God all things possible

              “But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, ‘With men this is impossible,                             but with God all things are possible.’ ” (Matthew 19:26)

 “Go, Sharon. Go, Mary. Go, Gary. Go, Joe.”

The last words of Jesus to His disciples, as recorded in the books of Matthew and Mark, include the word “GO.” A comparison of various translations of the passage in the Bible where the Great Commission is given in Mark 16:15 and Matthew 28:19 also include another word–either “Go ye” or “Go you.” Even if the pronoun is not included, there is the understood “you” in the directive “GO” –Go (you).

Jesus did not say: “Go one. Go someone. Go somebody. Go anybody. Go others. Go no one. Go nobody.” The pronoun was not indefinite but personal, and yet, it was also not these forms: “Go she or Go he or Go they or Go we…” Instead, the chosen words by Jesus were “Go you.” My name can be substituted for “you” and so can yours: “Go, Sharon. Go, Mary. Go, Gary. Go, Joe.”

 ” God made you different so you can make a difference.” 1

The God-created differences in each one of us make us uniquely able to effect change around us and within others we personally come in contact with through our work, school, social relationships, and other connections.

 “If you desire to make a difference in the world, you must be different from the world.” 2

In Luke’s account, the disciples do not immediately “go” forth. Instead, Jesus tells them to wait until they receive the Holy Spirit to help them go forward in this cause to spread the gospel to all the world:

 44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” 45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:44-49)

They had to be different from the world–their minds opened to understand the scriptures, their appearance altered when “clothed with power” from God, their hearts changed by their witness of the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Through God, it was possible to reach out to the nations and change the world. Man alone could not “go” forth and complete this important work.

That powerful helper, the Holy Spirit, is still here. That understanding of scripture is made available in the full Word of God. That heart change is possible from belief in the testimonies of those who witnessed Christ on this earth. The world is in desperate need of Jesus and His message of hope, forgiveness, and salvation. That “world” starts in the family home, the neighborhood, the workplace, and the community. It’s where difference begins and goes forward in ways we can never imagine, for “with God, all things are possible.”

 “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” 3

                                                            GO YE!                                                                             

1Author unknown. wisesayings.com

²Elaine S. Dalton. wisesayings.com

³Mahatma Gandhi. brainyquote.com

 (Sharon G. Tate blog 04/03/16) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word