“This World Is Not My Home”

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For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.  (Hebrews 13:14)

Places you have called “home.” How many have you had in your life thus far? My journey began in Battle Creek, MI, where I was born. My first home was in Union City, MI, the second one in Millington, MI. The 3rd-4th homes were in Saginaw, MI until I was 20. The 5th-6th moves were at Rochester, MI; the 7th-8th moves to places in Traverse City, MI; the 9th move to Big Rapids, MI; the 10th move back to Saginaw briefly; the 11th-12th  moves to housing in Louisiana; the  13th-16th moves to residences in Texas; the 17th  move back to Saginaw; the  18th-19th  moves in Cadillac, MI. And here is the place I have called “home” the past twenty-seven years.

Yet, none of these places were ever home. They were my parents’ homes, apartments, rentals, campus housing, Army housing, more rentals, a bedroom, another rental house, and now a condo. Temporary. Transitory. Transitional. Temporal. Terminable. And I was/am just the transient wanderer waiting for transport to my real home. There is only one place that is truly home for those who believe in the promises of Christ.

 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14: 1-3)

Do you long for this eternal home, our true home?  Enduring. Perpetual. Eternal.  Ever-Lasting. Permanent.

Revelations 21:4-7  4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 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 water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.

Revelations 22:3-7 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.” “Look, I am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll.”

 Revelations 22:8-9 I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your fellow prophets and with all who keep the words of this scroll. Worship God!”

Let us continue to worship God in this transitional world until we can meet Him in our true home and bow down in the very presence of our Lord and our God. And find permanence with Him.

This world is not our home.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 10/30/16)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

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“Word(s) Fitly Spoken” with Grace and Wisdom from God

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“Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a ruling rightly given.”  (New International Version of Proverbs 25:11)

The language of the citizenry in a country is, often, a mirror of the culture and civilization of that society.  What words are said publicly- and regularly -now that were not accepted just a few years ago? Language changes with time and cultural acceptance.  Do our words today give us this beautiful image as depicted in Proverbs 25:11?

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” (Revised Standard Version of Proverbs 25:11)

When we think of the word choices used in our society today and what may be regarded as “fit” for the occasion, what “word” do we visualize in our minds or “hear” in our thoughts? Does it come from a television character, a news moderator, a commercial, a celebrity, our next-door neighbor, a colleague, a spouse, our best friend, a politician? Does the word fit the image described in Proverbs 25:11?

“The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry…” (The Message translation for Proverbs 25:11)

Custom-made.  Just for you. Just for me.  We can go online and find words to copy and paste that might seem like the right words for the occasion. But they are not custom-made just for you and just for me. Only God can give us THE right word at THE right moment, custom-made.

1) Luke 21:15 “For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.” 

2) Psalm 141:3 “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.”

3) 2 Timothy 2:14-15 “ 14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. “

4) I Peter 4: 10-11 “10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. “

5) Colossians 4:6 “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

Our words speak much about us– as a people, as a society, as a culture. Our words speak much about us-as individuals. Our words speak much about us- to our children and our grandchildren. Our words speak much about us—to all those with whom we engage in conversation, discussion, or debate. Where do we turn to find the words we should speak? Only God can give us “a word fitly spoken” that evokes an image of “apples of gold in a setting of silver.”

Let us turn to the Creator of everything to know what to say and how to say it with thought, with grace, with wisdom, and as “one who speaks the very words of God.”

(Sharon G. Tate blog  10/23/16)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

BLESSED ASSURANCE IN CHRIST

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It times of distress, where do we go for help?

 “In Sorrow I Wandered,

Does Jesus Care?

Whispering Hope,

Heaven Came Down,

In Loving Kindness Jesus Came,

He Touched Me.

I Lay My Sins On Jesus,

He Knows Just What I Need,

A Shelter In The Time Of Storm,

God Is My Refuge.

Into The Heart Of Jesus,

I Know Whom I Have Believed,

Glory To His Name,

I Will Sing Of My Redeemer,

I Will Sing The Wondrous Story,

A Wonderful Savior,

Nearer Still Nearer,

I Know That My Redeemer Lives.

It Is No Secret,

In The Cross Of Christ I Glory,

Washed In the Blood,

Saved, Saved!

Victory in Jesus,

How Firm A Foundation,

Rock Of Ages,

Jesus Is Mine.

Love Lifted Me,

No One Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus,

Safe In The Arms Of Jesus,

He Whispers Sweet Peace To Me,

Peace, Perfect Peace,

There Is A Place Of Quiet Rest,

There’s A Rainbow In The Cloud,

It Is Well With My Soul,

Thank You, Lord.”

The lyrics of songs contain assuring words. Let us not only sing the notes but the words with blessed assurance that Jesus has been, is, and always shall be there for us as our Savior and Lord.

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

Seeking the Lord’s Direction

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In their hearts humans plan their course,  but the Lord establishes their steps.      Proverbs 16:9

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Assignment: IF you could have three wishes, what would they be?

Answer: To never be born. To never be born. To never be born.

This wasn’t the response I ever expected to receive from any of my students. It was a question included within a diagnostic survey, which I used at the very beginning of the course to help me better understand my students and where they were coming from in life to the point they entered my classroom. The girl was a freshman, around age fourteen. To not want life—ever. What prompted her to write this three times for her three wishes?

Reading that response was like a Frank Capra moment with George Bailey on the bridge ready to jump and the angel Clarence showing up, rather clumsily, to save him as George declares he wishes he had never been born. And I was a new teacher—with no wings. Do I jump into this, like Clarence, and take the dive to get involved-or just pass it on to the counselor?

It is a choice we make in our lives with the people we encounter. Involvement or disengagement, empathy or apathy, personal or impersonal–or none? Before the choice is made, we should ask ourselves the wristband question: “What would Jesus do?”

When the Lord saw an opportunity to reach a soul, He engaged: with the Samaritan woman at the well, the crippled beggar at the pool, tax collectors, James and John, lepers, the adulterous woman, a rich young ruler, the Pharisees, religious leaders at the temple as a youth, and more and more throughout His life here on earth. Even when alone, He engaged with God.

We have become a society of lesser engagement. We may have 800+ Facebook friends, but how do we really classify 95% of the encounters on a scale of true involvement? We even have a growing constituency called “None” in this country who are not particularly associated with any religious group and may not even believe in God.

If we are here, God has a purpose for each and every one of us:

Acts 26:15-18. God’s purpose for the Apostle Paul: 15 “And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 But rise and stand upon your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you to serve and bear witness to the things in which you have seen Me and to those in which I will appear to you, 17 delivering you from the people and from the Gentiles—to whom I send you 18 to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’ ”

John 15:16 –“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you.”

Purposeful engagement. It is what the Lord modeled for us-and what he expects of us. So, yes, I jumped and helped this girl who had no purpose to find one by letting her know I cared, I was praying for her, and I was there for her. I had her for three years in English 9-11 and followed her through her senior year. She got through school. She endured more struggles regarding the answer to those three wishes, but the last time I saw her, she was pushing a shopping cart with two little children inside, beaming that she was happily married. God had a different plan for her than those three wishes she wrote down that day.

  In their hearts humans plan their course,  but the Lord establishes their steps.      Proverbs 16:9

And we may be the ones God uses to encourage those moves with our purposeful engagement in others’ lives.

(Sharon G. Tate 10/09/16 blog) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

THE LAST BREATHS OF CHRIST: LESSONS FROM THE CROSS

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 37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that He thus breathed His last, he said,

“Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15: 33-39)

Breath.  Breathing.  Inhale. Exhale. Breathe.

It isn’t something most people stop to think about. Breathing is just automatic to many. Breath is there.

Breath is life. Without it, like Jesus, we breathe our last and die, ending our mortal lives. But what lives on, that is still breathing life into others around and beyond us? The centurion declared that Jesus must be the Son of God, based on what he saw and heard. What did he do after that? How was he affected and how did he affect others through this testimony? What lived on through spoken words breathed out?

Our lives can be a living, breathing testimony to Christ. When we cease to be in this life and take our last breath, have we thought about what those standing around us will say? What will they utter in small breaths? What will they declare afterward? How will we each yet live and breathe-even after our last breath?

Jesus used the last breaths He had to speak some very important words that yet live and breathe in us:

— Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up His clothes by casting lots. (Luke 23:34)

— Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

26 When Jesus saw His mother there, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. (John 19:26-27)

— About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).  (Matthew 27:46)

— Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” (John 19:28)

— After Jesus had taken the wine, He said, “It is finished.” Then He bowed his head and released His spirit. (John 19:30)

— Then Jesus cried out with a loud voice and said, “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.” After He said this, He breathed His last. (Luke 23:46)

Until and after His last breath, Jesus was teaching:

–Forgiveness to enemies, to those who do not come to our defense, to those who walk away.

–The reality of heaven, this prepared place where He will take us home to be with Him eternally.

–Responsibility to care and provide for family, an elder parent.

–The meaning of sin as anguished separation from God.

–Obedience to scripture and God’s Word, to the letter.

–The importance of completing everything God requires.

–That we must- and will—entrust our spirits to God in the end.

 Teaching in breaths, exhaling. Learning in breaths, inhaling.

Breathe in the lessons. Breathe out His Words. Share Jesus.  

Will we yet live and breathe—after our last breath?

(Sharon G. Tate blog 10/02/16)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word