THE TRINITY OF PROMISE, LIGHT, and HOPE

STAY.  WATCH.  PRAY.

36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsem′ane, and He said to His disciples, “Sit here, while I go yonder and pray.” 37 And taking with Him Peter and the two sons of Zeb′edee, He began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then He said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther He fell on his face and prayed, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” 40 And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and He said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with Me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again, for the second time, He went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, Thy will be done.” 43 And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So, leaving them again, He went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. 45 Then He came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going; see, My betrayer is at hand.” 

(Matthew 26:36-46)

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AWAKEN.  ARISE.  FOLLOW.

The directives from Jesus to His disciples were clear. Yet, they did not watch. Instead, they slept, and they were not praying in this somnolent state. His companions, His friends, the chosen ones who would carry out His mission when His purpose on earth was fulfilled could not even stay awake, watch, and pray. Three separate times, Jesus came to them and found them asleep.

Three separate times. Jesus prayed to His Father as the disciples slept, asking if what is to come could somehow, if it was possible, pass from Him. Yet, He still acknowledged it was His Father’s will that He would obey, not His own. He was awake. He prayed. He stayed with His Father.

A trinity of commands. A trinity of prayers. A trinity of response.

The hour was at hand. The betrayer was at hand. The disciples were not prepared for what was to come.

There was a scattering of the disciples as Jesus was taken. “And they all forsook Him, and fled.” (Mark 14:50) They were not asleep this time. Awake to what they saw, they might be taken too by association with Jesus. They did not stay with Him, except Peter who turned back and followed, but at a distance with the crowd. Yet, he did not stay with Jesus in loyalty.

A trinity of cock crows. A trinity of denial as Peter declared he never knew Jesus.

And what of us, His disciples today? Have we stayed? Are we watchful? Are we praying? Are we awake? Have we risen to His call to teach others about Him?  Are we truly following our Lord Jesus in the open, not the shadows?

AWAKEN.  ARISE.  FOLLOW.

We have a Trinity of Promise, Light, and Hope to guide us

 in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Let us remain faithful.

STAY.  WATCH.  PRAY.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 03/28/2021)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

SOLITUDE WITH GOD

And when it was day He departed and went into a lonely place.

(Luke 4:42)

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“Who wants to go camping!” A hand is not raised. It is mine. Anyone who knows me at all is aware that camping is not “my thing.” One problem is the campfire smoke with autoimmune lung disease, but overall, I just am not a camper. However, the concept of “getting away from it all” is, often, desirable and needed.

Getting away from it all” by going to God alone, in solitude,

wherever that place, whenever that time may be.

For me, it might be in the morning when I first awaken. My personal one-on-one talk with God.

During the hours in the day, it might be communicating with Him while washing dishes, doing the laundry, reading a page in a book. Connecting. Maybe remembering a prayer forgotten. Thinking of someone who is hurting. Maybe it’s me, needing support for the day.

It might be later in the evening outside on my deck or looking out through a window, watching the sky blossom into a beautifully vivid sunset. I stand there in gratitude to my Creator for His creation and this moment in awe and reverence.

Alone time with God is the most precious time.

Being with the One who truly hears and listens.

Communicating with my Father who loves completely.

Pouring out thoughts and feelings openly to my God.

15 But so much the more the report went abroad concerning Him; and great multitudes gathered to hear and to be healed of their infirmities. 16 But He withdrew to the wilderness and prayed.

(Luke 5:15-16)

Withdrawing from others, withdrawing from self to join with God in prayer–the communication He has offered to us freely, anytime, every time.

Jesus needed this time,

Alone with His Father,

In solitude with God.

How much more do I

Need to withdraw

And seek His Presence.

Always finding Him,

Waiting for my heart

To open unto Him.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 03/21/21)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

‘WHAT SORT OF MAN IS THIS. . .?”

23 And when He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but He was asleep. 25 And they went and woke Him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” 26 And He said to them, “Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?” Then He rose and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. 27 And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey Him?”(Matthew 8:23-27)

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38 But He was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do you not care if we perish?” 39 And He awoke and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” 40 He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?”   41 And they were filled with awe, and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey Him?   (Mark 4:38-41)

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24 And they went and woke Him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing! 25 And He awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; and they ceased, and there was a calm. 25 He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that He commands even wind and water, and they obey Him?” (Luke 8:24-25)

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As I write, the March winds are howling. If the pond that I can see from my window was not frozen, the waters would be churning in agitated motion with waves lapping against the banks. It would not be a safe place for a small boat with passengers.

The disciples were not on a small pond but on the sea in a boat “swamped by the waves” during a great storm. And Jesus was asleep. They called out to wake Him, so He could see their dire dilemma, addressing Him as Lord, Teacher, or Master in these accounts. Yet Jesus was, also, referred to as a man. When they pondered the magnitude of power needed to calm the winds and sea, indeed, this was no ordinary man. “What sort of man is this…?” “Who, then, is this…?” Did the question reflect a storm within of uncertainty, of fear regarding this man Jesus? The disciples had witnessed His miracles. Yet, the mortal mind will engage in human reasoning to explain the obedience of the elements to this man Jesus: “What sort of man is this…?”

Jesus rebuked them for their lack of faith. Haven’t we all been there, in the storm, facing the tumult, fearful of the outcome? Did we think Jesus was asleep? The disciples reached out to Him. Yet, they did not comprehend His power and authority. Do we, likewise, fail?

The storm may be daunting: “You are in respiratory failure.” “You have Stage 3 cancer.”  “Your baby is stillborn.” “Your mother passed in the nursing home in COVID restrictions.” But Jesus IS awake and living. He waits for us to reach out to Him through our fears, our despair, our heartaches and tears. And He can and will give us the saving calm we need. “Peace! Be still!” It is up to us to accept His peace, His presence, His plan, and His love which may involve a rebuke for our lack of faith.

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear or be in dread of them: for it is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will not fail you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have; for He has said, “I will never fail you nor forsake you.”

(Hebrews 13:5)

We cannot turn to anything or anyone else but Him for the salvation and peace we need—whether we are in the small boat on the pond dealing with the lesser problems in life or in the boat on the sea during the most difficult storms.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 03/12/21) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION: TEACHING CHRIST

Train up a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not depart from it.
(Proverbs 22:6)
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Recently, I had a Facetime chat with my grandchildren. When my six-year-old grandson was in view, I saw that he had lost his other front tooth. I started singing, “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth.” He looked at me oddly and said,
“I never heard of that.”
It was just a moment of sharing something that he had “never heard of” from a past that was not his, but it represents an interaction we need to have with our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and all those younger than us. It is, especially, important that we share Jesus Christ and the Word–as teachers, mentors, and living examples like Paul was to Timothy.
3  I thank God whom I serve with a clear conscience, as did my fathers, when I   remember you constantly in my prayers. 4 As I remember your tears, I long night and day to see you, that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your  sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lo′is and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you. . . 13 Follow the pattern of the sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus; 14 guard the truth that has been entrusted to you by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.
(2 Timothy 1:3-5, 13-14)
Timothy had the teaching and example in his youth from his mother and grandmother. This was the foundation that Paul could build upon to help Timothy become a strong disciple for Christ.
A disciple is not above his teacher, but every one when he is fully taught will be like his teacher.  (Luke 6:40)
We have opportunities to be the teachers, mentors, and living examples for those closest to us and those we encounter, even if for a few moments. A woman in the church my grandchildren attend seized upon an opportunity and started an online Children’s Worship on Zoom since the church has not had in-person services due to COVID. This is a wonderful opportunity to reach these children who would, otherwise, miss this teaching. The teacher told me that my grandkids ask to pray for me as I have been dealing with COVID and lung issues. It gave me the opportunity to reach out to my grandchildren in a letter to tell them that I am praying for them as they have prayed for me. To my granddaughter, who is eight, I told her we have this special bond in prayer between us, that I pray for her and she prays for me. I did not see her reaction to this, but I do know a seed was planted.
Many seeds need to be planted with our youth. The adage “it takes a village” is so true, and it is reflected in this verse from Proverbs:
Where there is no guidance, a people falls;
but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
(Proverbs 11:14)
A nation will fall if the generation that follows is not guided by the generation before. The love of the Lord and the Word must be planted and nourished.
One generation shall laud Thy works to another,
and shall declare Thy mighty acts (Psalm 145:4)
Every child is “my child” and “your child” in the sense of God’s community.
13 Then children were brought to Him that He might lay His hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people; 14 but Jesus said, “Let the children come to Me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”  (Matthew 19: 13-14)
Children can–and do—teach us, and we need them to remind us how we must be before our Father and our Lord and Savior. Yet, it is, also, our responsibility to be the example for them.
It is “the other” whom Jesus always looked after in His life and in His death. He continues this focus now into forever. To have the mindset of Christ, we must, likewise, have others in our minds and hearts.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant being born in the likeness of men.  (Philippians 2:4-7)
We do not want our children to say to us later in life,
“I never heard of that.”
(Sharon G. Tate blog 03/07/21)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

Praying from Our Hearts to God

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually,
18 give thanks in all circumstances
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
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“I miss you Grandma to I wish we cud go up to your house”
This was the email I recently received from my six-year-old grandson. We have not seen each other in person since Labor Day weekend in September 2020. It is difficult to be apart, as most everyone reading this post knows in some way from 2020 experiences and restrictions that continue into 2021.
As a retired high school English teacher and reading specialist, the grammatical errors in my grandson’s email stand out to me like bold, enlarged print. Yet, these errors do not matter to me at all. The message is perfect, sincere, and heartfelt. It brought forth both tears and smiles when I read it.
Do we think about our communications with God, how they are spoken in our prayers and how they are received by Him? Jesus criticized the Pharisees who prayed elaborate prayers before others, for the human audience.
27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”    (Matthew 23:27-28)
Our prayers to God need to be heartfelt, not an appearance of humility and not perfect in elocution. Communication with God does not require the skill of “clearer and expressive speech, especially of distinct pronunciation and articulation.” 1 In our personal prayers, we must show our respect to our Father, our God. Yet, the communication should,  also,  be        intimate with Him, the Father, whom we know will hear us and respond to us. Such prayers can be “on the spot” in a walk, on a drive to work, while putting clothes in the washer. In those moments, we can rejoice, be thankful, and tell Him our heartaches and hopes. The early morning hour, mealtime, and/or bedtime prayers, on the other hand, can become routine or even ritualistic, if we are not more conscious of this time with Him.
The simple, sincere expression of love in my grandson’s email touched my heart. How do our words and how we speak them, whether aloud or in our thoughts, affect our Father when we pray? Are we reaching out to Him in a way that clearly shows we have a close relationship with Him? Do we want to spend time with Him, now and eternally?
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. (Colossians 4:2)
. . . pray continually . . . (I Corinthians 5:17)
We want to be with you, Father, in your house forever.
One day. . .
Until then, we come to You in our prayers.

1 Elocution. Definition from Google’s Dictionary-Oxford Languages. Google

(Sharon G. Tate blog 02/21/2021)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

HUGS OF LOVE FROM JESUS

Whenever my grandchildren come to visit, they know they will get this emphatic question from me when they enter my home: “Where are my grandma hugs?!” If you are a grandparent, you know how special it is to be on the receiving end of hugs from your grandchildren, especially when there is no asking, and they just offer hugs freely and sincerely with love.

In our COVID culture today, hugs are not encouraged. In fact, hugging is discouraged. Yet, I suggest that lots of “hugging” has been occurring in different ways—through prayer, phone calls or texts, messages on cards, groceries purchased, meals prepared and delivered, tagged Facebook posts, Messenger messages, caregiving in different ways, and more. The physical “touch” of hugging is missing, but the love is felt.

Our Lord never physically hugged anyone reading this post. Yet, He has hugged each one of us in so many ways, freely and sincerely with His love.

Have you felt His hugs–

–As He left the Father to come to this earth as a baby, subject to the physical frailties of being human.

–As He started on the path to following His Father’s Will at age 12 with the scribes in the Temple.

–As He sought moments of solitude from the crowds who came to be healed by Him–yet returned to meet their needs.

–As He appealed to His Father in the Garden to take this cup from Him, weeping tears as of blood, His agony so great—yet obedient to God’s Will, not His, for us all.

–As He faced Pilate and stood silent. As He took the punishment, the torture, the mockery.

–As nails were pounded into His hands and feet and a crown of thorns was pushed into His scalp.

–As He hung by nails on a cross where He struggled to breathe and dealt with excruciating pain.

–As He called out to His Father, asking to forgive for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

–As He told the thief on the cross that He would be with Him in Paradise that day. (Luke 23:43) The promise is real. We each have the opportunity for redemption. Paradise is the place where Jesus is.

–As He cried out to the Father, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) The wrenching cry of the Son to the Father as the Son took on the sins of mankind, alone and separated from the Father. He chose the cross.

–As He said to the Father, “It is finished.” The Will of God, His Father, was fully obeyed and completed that we all might be saved. (John 19:30)

Jesus gives reassurance to His disciples and to us: “Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also.”  (John 14:1-3)

The HUG: “I will come again and take you to Myself.”

HUGS across time, throughout all time, from our Lord and Savior. And we can feel them in our hearts every moment until He comes again.

How will we return His hugs while we wait for that day?

(Sharon G. Tate blog 02/14/21) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

THE PRESENCE LEFT BEHIND

But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
that I may tell of all Thy works.
(Psalm 73:25)
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Walking past the pew,
Feeling the presence,
Impressions remaining,
The voice still heard.

No longer there in body,
Yet still part of the Body,
His church, our family.
Past presence in the present.
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Living on.

We, often, strive to continue past our demise by leaving a legacy through money, statues, status, writings, songs, acting, deeds, honors, awards, patents, wills, children, more and more–so we humans can live on. Yet, nothing continues forever here. Human legacies fail, crumble, are forgotten, and succumb to mortality.
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-20)
A legacy that lives on must be from the inside, in a heart where God dwells. The influence of His Light helps others see that a true, abiding presence in this world is His Presence within.
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What presence will we leave behind,
To carry on beyond our passing,
Lingering in thoughts and hearts,
Dwelling in moments remembered.

Our legacy, human and temporal;
His legacy, divine and eternal.
Christ within, impressions remain
His Words and Love living on.                                           
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34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
(John 13:34-35)

(Sharon G. Tate blog 02/07/21) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

HOME. This world is not.

1 “Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also. (John 14:1-3)

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HOME. This world is not.

Growing up through childhood and even adolescence, I never felt like I wanted to leave the home my parents provided for me and my brother. Some of my friends would talk about doing this and some even acted on it, but I did not have a reason to even give it serious thought. My little brother, however, did pack a few things into a wagon once when he was quite young and decided to leave home over some incident that upset him. But he was back to eat not long after. Home was safe, warm, and loving. Mom was always there. Dad always came home from work. My brother and I now realize how blessed we were to have a home like this. It was a home we could—and always did—come back to in adulthood. Yet, it was temporary, for the physical place remembered as “home” changed and our parents passed from this world to enter their eternal home.

The true HOME we await as Christians is that eternal home with God and our Savior Jesus. He has promised a place for you and for me there–if we accept Him as Lord and follow His path and commands. The path we must take is not an easy one. We each have our own crosses to bear in this life, as Christ bore His—not just at the end but throughout His life on earth. How did He leave a home that was so loving with His Father, to come to a place where He was homeless during His ministry?

19 And a scribe came up and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” 20 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests;  but the Son of man has nowhere to lay His head.” (Matthew 8:19-20)

HOME. This world is not.

It was not His home, yet He came. For you and me, He entered this earthly realm, humbly, as a baby. For you and me, He suffered mocking, torture, and the most grievous pain of separation from His Father as He took our sins onto Himself. The One without sin did this for us all, that we might be forgiven and saved.

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, la’ma sabach-tha’ni?” that is, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46)

HOME. This world is not.

(Mark 15:37) And Jesus uttered a loud cry,

and breathed His last.

(Matthew 27:50)And Jesus cried again with a loud voice and yielded up His spirit.

HOME–

Where He waits,

For you and me

To be with Him,

A place prepared,

Eternal dwelling

With the Father–

HOME.

(Sharon G. Tate 01/24/21 blog) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

Hope and Grace Through Prayer

Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer

 (Romans 12:12)

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In hospital with COVID. On lots of oxygen.
Will get plasma, cocktail of meds.
Maybe a ventilator. You have medical directive. Pray.
Message to my son on November 20th, 2020.
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Due to prior lung disease/damage from autoimmune disease and a compromised immune system, the odds were not in my favor to avoid a ventilator or even total respiratory failure and death. The ER doctor said I was almost too late; I could not inhale. He asked if they had permission for chest compression and a ventilator if needed. I nodded permission. The message was sent to my son after I was taken to the COVID wing.
You have medical directive.
But truly, the medical directive was in God’s hands.
I knew, by faith, that if It was His Will for me to live and not be vented, then this would be the medical decision. I prayed and asked for prayers. The prayers of many were heard, from people I did not even know, and I beat the odds through His grace.
1And this is the confidence which we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His Will He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask we know that we have obtained the requests made of Him. (I John 5:14-15)
AMEN and AMEN.
 During the darkest of days, His Light is always there.
                     Seek the Lord and His strength,seek His presence continually! (I Chronicles 16:11)
These words still speak to us today.
There are those in our church family going through serious health struggles, confronting the unknown. All of us have struggles to deal with daily. God knows our concerns, our heartaches, our trials. He can remove them instantly. Yet, we are to seek Him. The sacrifice by Jesus opened a pathway for us to reach God. Prayer is the direct communication to seek His strength, His presence, His mercy, and His grace.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6)
LET US PRAY TO HIM ON BEHALF OF EACH OTHER.
20 Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, 21 to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)
 (Sharon G. Tate blog 01/17/21) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

THE ANCHOR FOR OUR SOULS

Revised Standard Version:

19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner shrine behind the curtain, 20where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest for ever after the order of Melchiz′edek.  (Matthew 6:19-20)   

The Message:

 18-20 We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an  unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of  Melchizedek. (Matthew 6:19-20)

Our hope in God’s steadfast promises is the

“anchor” and “lifeline” for our soul.

Space X and NASA recently launched four astronauts to the International Space Station. It is a daunting journey to lift off and defy earth’s gravitational pull. That firm foundation God placed on this earth is an anchor that holds us securely in place. We cannot drift upward as those astronauts will experience in space.

I was reading a book by Scott Kelly regarding his year on the International Space Station, titled Endurance: My Year in Space. A Lifetime of Discovery when this November 2020 launch happened. One emphasis Mr. Kelly  makes when performing a spacewalk is to ensure, absolutely and repeatedly, that his tether is securely attached. If it becomes detached, he knows he will drift away and, likely, die alone in space.

Our anchor, our lifeline, our tether is not gravity on earth. It is God Himself. We hold to His promises, His love, His grace, His hope to secure our, otherwise, wayward drifting in life. God is the anchor securing us steadily on the right walk.

When we think another lifeline is available to us, we risk drifting away, lost and alone, without hope. Jesus came to earth to provide the true lifeline to God. When we securely attach to Him, we have the hope and assurance of God’s promises, the anchor for our souls.

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For God alone my soul waits in silence,
for my hope is from Him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.

(Psalm 62: 5-6)

(Sharon  G. Tate blog  December 11, 2020) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word