Our Seasons with God

As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter,day and night will never cease. (Genesis 8:22)

WINTER:
White raiment
Crystalline sparkle
Powdery wisps
Silent echoes
Dormant life
Resting hope
In God’s time.

Winter, the season often associated with an end and death, actually signals the onset of new life and hope lingering beneath the soil–waiting. This is God’s promise—“as long as the earth endures.”

And what of our winter season here on this earth? Writers have linked youth with spring and summer, fall with aging maturity, and winter with our final years of decline. Can we not reframe the picture and see a different view of this stage in our lives:

White raiment: Donning a garment of greater purity before the Lord.
Crystalline sparkle: Shining in the Light of His Glory.
Powdery wisps: Rising above earthly ties for a closer view of heaven.
Silent echoes: Listening to the voices of those before us in the Lord.
Dormant life: Believing more is yet to be—beyond the “me” I now see.
Resting hope: Waiting patiently for new hope and life with God.
In God’s time: Trusting that His time is best in all seasons.

The winter years for disciples of the Lord should be ones reflecting a closer relationship with God, a greater purity within, a stronger belief held, a deeper longing for heaven, and a patient trust that the Lord will walk with us through this final season in our earthly lives.

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Seasons praying hands of ages

–A white-haired woman in a wheelchair, focusing intently on the preacher’s message, whispers “Amen.”
–The younger woman sitting beside her, hearing the whisper, invokes “Amen.”
–An elderly man with a cane, standing before the congregation praying, speaks “Amen.”
–The younger man beside him at the table, following the example, echoes “Amen.”
–An older woman sitting in the pew, hearing both the message and the prayer, reaffirms   “Amen.”
–The young child beside the woman, looking up at her with innocent eyes, repeats “Amen.”

SO BE IT. Let us rejoice in the God-given seasons of our lives, being the lead and example for those passing through the seasons we have already experienced, as we prepare for our own winter that will come with its hope of promise. Thank you, Lord.  AMEN.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 01/28/18) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

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“Follow Me”: The Meaning of Love as His Disciple

 

 

There are consequences to being a committed disciple of Jesus .Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be My disciple

must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24)

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“Gotta go. Love ya.”

 “Love ya back.” Turning.

 “Love ya more.” Waving.

Has the use of the word “love” become more and more casual in our communications?  What have we lost in the translation by possible overuse of this word that may result in the absence of true commitment in relationships?

For the Lord, who asked Peter three times if he loved Him, the meaning meant a deep commitment of sacrifice—even onto death.

The Cost of Love in Discipleship

12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to His disciples after He was raised from the dead.

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love Me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love You.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love Me?”

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love You.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love Me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love You.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then He said to him, “Follow me!” (John 21: 12-19)

Master and disciple

Communicating

Three responses,

In so revealing

Love, Love, Love

Profound Depth

Beneath the words–

Follow The Master

With commitment

In shared sacrifice.

When we say to the Lord, “You know that I love You,”

We must remember His words of commitment–

“Follow me” –and what they mean in love to Him.

(Sharon G. Tate 01/21/18 blog) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

The God-Given Breath of Life

Behold, You have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before You. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah  (Psalm 39:5)

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Penetrating cold. The mother shivers and heads back inside to add more layers, returning to brave the weather with the little boy who has begged to go outside all morning. The cold doesn’t seem to penetrate him though, as he laughs and plays in the snow. Happiness wraps him in warmth, while his breath expels odd shapes in the air. His mittened hand reaches out to hold captive the puffs which only elude him, dissipating too soon in the air. Yet, the hand reaches out again and again to try and capture those fading wisps in the frigid air.

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Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow. (Psalm 144:4)

Someone described seeing your breath when it’s cold “like a puff of warm fog intruding on the cold air.”1 That warmth is the visible presence of life in a cold atmosphere. It is the proof that we are alive, yet it is, also, the warning that this breath lasts only a little while before it expires and is no longer visible. We cannot grasp it in the air and hold onto it.

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)

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. (Proverbs 27:1)

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The young boy and his mother return inside to the warmth of the house, huddled close on the rocker. He blows outward, but sees nothing and asks his mother why this is so. She ponders how to answer and, finally, tells him that God provides the warmth of a home secure from the cold, so he can’t see his breath inside. She asks him to breathe deeply, hold his now unmittened hand in front of his mouth, and expel the breath. He feels the warm air and blows again and again. This is life, his mother tells him. When we can see and feel the breath from inside of us, we know God has blessed us with more time to be together. The boy smiles at his mother, snuggling closer, the mother capturing the moment in her heart, knowing this time will only last a little while.

For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding. (I Chronicles 29:15)

The time of our sojourn here,

Though transient,

 Is a blessing from God.

Breathe deeply. Exhale.

Smile and laugh.

Thank God for the moments.

 

1 Anonymous. Uk.answers.yahoo.com/questions

(Sharon G. Tate  blog 01/14/18)  teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

Prideful Hearts Humbled Before God

pride capital I

When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2)

In Dante’s Inferno, those whose prideful natures brought them to hell are given this punishment: “. . . the proud penitents carrying heavy rocks on their backs. The weight forces them to walk slowly, their bodies bent low to the ground.”1

The irony of this punitive measure is that the proud want to be visibly upright before others in a haughty manner. Carrying this heavy burden, they cannot walk ahead of and are unable to rise before others in a stance that would indicate power, authority and superiority. The “proud penitents” are humbled—in a physical way. Yet, it is one’s mind and soul that must be prostrate before God in a state of true humility– not the mere physical appearance of a submissive form.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4:10)

These prideful sinners were not penitent in true humility. In Jesus’s time, the Pharisees were the examples of overbearing pride. Jesus pointed to the Pharisees as those who served themselves and not the Lord, prideful in their accusations against Him and arrogant before others.

39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you. 42 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone. 43 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces. 44 “Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.” (Luke 11: 39-44)

Pride before God and others only brings one down, like the sinners depicted by Dante: Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.  (Proverbs 16:18)

God does not accept a prideful attitude of heart: The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. (Proverbs 16:5)

The Lord Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty,
for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled). Isaiah 2:12

 The burden of those guilty of pride is heavy and unending torture, while the burden of those in Christ is light with the promise of rest:

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

All will be humbled before God. The choice is whether we will do so of our own volition and find peace and rest in the Lord or if we will choose the path of pride and carry that weight on our backs throughout eternity– apart from God.

In what ways do we each need to confess to a prideful heart– and come to Jesus?       

1http://danteworlds.laits.utexas.edu/purgatory/03pride.html

(Sharon G. Tate blog 01/07/18) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word