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

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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

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

“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 09/16/18) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

 

PREPARING TO MEET OUR GOD

1To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 

A time to be born, and a time to die . . . (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2)

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Green leaves tinged red and yellow,

The air crisp in the evening walk,

This season of life before us;

Entering fall with expectancy,

A brilliance of color waiting

To explode in vibrancy around us;

And we, in the autumn of our lives,

 Hold onto that season before leaves fall.

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Fall back. Spring forward. The clocks are changed to manipulate time.

But seasons change as ordained by God. And the leaves will fall.

When the winter of our life comes upon us, will we have prepared to meet our Lord through the seasons of spring, summer, and fall? We cannot maneuver,  engineer, or mastermind the time we have left. We can’t “fall back” and try to stop the leaves from falling or the snow from coming.

A time to be born — a time to die. But there is that important dash, the life space of seasons in-between. These seasons of time are gifts from God. It is up to us if we grow, experience, change, and mature through them.

What will we do with this time allotted to us?

35 “ ‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit Me.’  37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me.’”  (Matthew 25:35-45)

 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.                     (2 Corinthians 5:10)

 What will I have done before this appointed time?

 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. . . (Hebrews 9:27)

Catastrophic Damage–WITHOUT GOD as our Refuge

 (Genesis 6:7-8) 7So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.”  8But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.)                                                                                                

(Genesis 7:17-24) 17 For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. 18 The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. 20 The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits. 21 Every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. 22 Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. 23 Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark. 24 The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days.                                                                                          

(Genesis 8:2) Now the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky.

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Winds blast gusts at 90mph;

Trees bend and branches crack;

Lightning flashes across the night sky;

 Thunder rumbles and grumbles behind;

Clocks flash. Time stops. Darkness comes.

Our power grid has failed us.

Where is the refuge we need?

Is there an ark? Is there a Noah?

We experience storms in life that seem catastrophic when we are in the epicenter—in the midst of the figurative lightning, thunder, winds, and darkness. Time seems to STOP right there, and we are stuck in the storm. Where do we turn? Our little ray, like a penlight, barely pierces the blackness. We fumble and stumble around, looking for a refuge or an escape. But there is no man-made ark. Noah is not here. And we are not there.

What we may have regarded as catastrophic disasters in our life at the time may be seen in retrospect, through much thought and prayer, as times when we did not turn to the ever-present Refuge. There is no need for the ark ever again. God is our refuge, our Light to find our way out of the darkness and storms we face. With His comfort, guidance, and peace, these seasons of life are not catastrophic. He is the power grid that never fails us.

12 “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.”  (Philippians 4:12-13)

We don’t need to find a “Noah.” We should be the person who “found favor in the eyes of the Lord” as we realize we must turn to Him and trust Him. It doesn’t mean we won’t endure the storm. It doesn’t mean we won’t be tossed about and drenched. It doesn’t mean we won’t be struck or hear the rumbles against us. It doesn’t mean we won’t bend—but it does mean we won’t crack and remain broken. Our darkness will be dispelled by His Light.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.  (2 Corinthians 4:6-9)

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

(Psalm 46:1-3)

 (Sharon G. Tate blog 09/02/18) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word