Keeping the Word in our Hearts

1Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. The tempter came to Him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”  (Matthew 4: 1-3)

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The weakest moment.

The challenge.

The test.

The answer.

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone,

but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” (Matthew 4:4)

When tested

Be ready

To answer

With the Word.

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The weakest moments. The voice whispering, “Go ahead. It’s okay. Just this once won’t hurt. Try it.” How will we respond to the prompting, the teasing, the tempting, the urging and still hold true to faith—unless we have the Word readily before us as our reaction, our response, and our action.

12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12-13)

The Savior understands our weakest moments.

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin. (Hebrews 4:14-15)

The test given. The weakest moment. Forty days of fasting. Hunger.

The response made. The living embodiment of the Word spoke the Word of God: “It is written.”

He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” (Deuteronomy 8:3) 

The tempter’s challenge met.

When tested

Be ready

To answer

With the WORD.

   (Sharon G. Tate blog 06/25/17) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

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Leading children to God the Father

“Do not call anyone on earth your Father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.” (Matthew 23:9)

ONE EARTHLY DAD

DADS .  . .  Strong hands lifting us up to the sky.  Sitting on top of his shoulders, seeing the world from his view.  Holding us in his lap while reading the same story again and again with the same emphasis and emotion.  Sending us to our rooms for time out.  Praying to God at the dinner table. Patiently helping us learn how to ride a bike.  Clapping loudly and yelling out our names when we sing our one solo line at the fourth grade choir performance. Sitting downstairs in the chair asleep, waiting for us to get home from that first date.  Writing the first check toward our college tuition. Walking us down the aisle on our wedding day.  Proudly holding the first grandchild, while remembering holding us for the first time.

DADS . . . The scent of after shave. The feel of a scruffy beard. The touch of calloused hands. The tall presence with big shoes.  The stern voice. The patient voice. The whisper of love

DADS . . . God gave each of us a dad. Some were present in our lives; some were not, even when physically present. Other dads gave us a sense of the one Father we share, as we were sheltered under his protection, discipline, and love.

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ONE HEAVENLY FATHER  of us ALL

FATHER: We each share the same One.“Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.” (1 Corinthians 8:6)

FATHER: He created us from the beginning. “But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)

FATHER: His love is beyond earthly parenting. He blessed us by calling us His own children. “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.” (1 John 3:1)

FATHER: He has given us blessings beyond this temporal world. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ…” (Ephesians 1:3) “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (I Peter 1:3)

FATHER: He is merciful to us who do not deserve mercy  and the giver of all comfort when we seek Him. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:3)

FATHER: He provides for us in all ways, even when we do not ask, even beyond what we can ask. “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” ( Matthew 6:26)

FATHER: He disciplines us with love to lead us on the right path. 11My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke 12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” (Proverbs 3: 11-12)

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Dads who follow the Lord and trust fully in Him can be the example for their children, showing them a glimpse of the character traits of the Father.

Dads can help lead their children to the Lord.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 06/18/17) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

WHO ARE MY MOTHER AND BROTHERS?

46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, His mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to Him. 47 Someone told Him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” 48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to His disciples, He said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:46-50)

WHO IS MY SON?

25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” 27 Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home. (John 19:25-27)

WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR?

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” He replied. “How do you read it?” 27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10: 25-29)

Jesus answered the expert in law’s question with a parable of a man who was beaten, robbed, and left to die. Three people reacted to the man’s plight—two passing by on either side of the road, one stopping and going the extra mile to provide assistance and healing.

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied,

“The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:36-37)

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My mother is the 85-year-old woman in the nursing home who looks out the window waiting for someone to come;  my brother is the unemployed father of three who stands in line with 500 others hoping for a job; my son is the recently discharged soldier grappling with PTSD and depression; my neighbor is the child fleeing from a country where he is underfed and abused.
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Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, family, neighbors. We tend to have a very limited view of family and neighbors. God’s perspective is much larger, broader, and inclusive. The bloodline of family with God is really from Christ, not from our great-great-greats…. down the lineage of personal ancestry. My neighbors are, also, my family, each one created by God.

In every person, I can find a common heritage, a common Savior, a common love. I should not see with eyes that only view similarity; I must, also, look into the differences and find commonality in them. The commonality is from that portion of God’s divine nature imbued in each soul. It is my directive as well to show acceptance, mercy, and love to others who are my “neighbors.” I, too, must “Go and do likewise.”

And what if everyone followed this directive. . .

(Sharon G. Tate 06/11/17 blog)  teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

BROKENNESS Made Whole Through Christ

 

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.         

(Psalm 34:18)

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BROKEN. Shattered pieces surrounding him. The boy looked down in despair. Where would he start? How could he make it whole again? Dropping to his knees to pick up the bigger pieces first, he began the attempt to form the outer shape. It was like a jigsaw puzzle but with uneven, jagged edges. He sloppily glued the pieces together the best he could until, gradually, piece by piece, a vase was somewhat identifiable. It was his great-grandmother’s vase, a family heirloom. How could he present it to his mother, who cherished the vase? The pieces did not fit as they should. The breaks were visible everywhere.

The boy waited in anxious anticipation, fear, and shame for his mother to come home. When he finally heard the key turn in the lock, he carefully lifted the makeshift object, sighed loudly, and brought it to his mother. Head drooped, he held it out to her. The mother looked intently at her son, reached for the poorly glued shape, carefully inspected it, and then walked over to the stand where the vase had always been, placing it on her mother’s beautiful handmade doily. The boy watched this scene with confusion and fear, still expecting repercussions from his careless act of playing too rough near the vase.

But the mother came to him, held him close, and led him over to the vase. She said the vase was more beautiful with the scars. “It is brokenness,” she said, “that unites us all, from great-grandma to grandma, to me, and now to you. The pieces of our lives may shatter around us, but we get on our knees, try to glue the broken edges back together to continue on in this life, and realize, although the scars still show, that we can be whole through the One who had scars in His hands, feet, side, and body. His brokenness allows us all to be whole inside while carrying with us the scars of life.”

The boy knew his mother was speaking of Jesus. She had taken him to Bible class every Sunday. BROKEN with SCARS. He now realized everyone in Bible class and worship was this way. And the jagged edges and visible breaks were there to remind us that we could never be the Potter who makes the clay into the vessel of a perfect, seamless creation.

Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, You are the potter;

we are all the work of Your hand. (Isaiah 64:8)

BROKEN. Scarred. Humble in spirit before the Lord, our Creator and our Redeemer. This is our sacrifice to Him who was broken for us.

 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
You, God, will not despise. (Psalm 51:17)

 (Sharon G. Tate 06/04/17) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word