Holding Steadfast to Faith


58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58)

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Relationship with God       —Comparison—        Societal, Cultural Relationships

S—Stay————————————————————- F—Fluctuating

T—True————————————————————-O–Objection

E—Evermore——————————————————R–Rarely

A—Always———————————————————-M–Maybe

D—Dedicated——————————————————E—Erratic

F —Faithful———————————————————T–Temporary

A—Ardent———————————————————–I–Indifferent

S —Steady———————————————————–M-Makeshift

T—Trustworthy—————————————————-E—Errant

God’s Steadfast Relationship with Us:

 Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love
surrounds the one who trusts in Him.(Psalm 32:10)

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.
His love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1)

 In a “for-me-time” society and culture, relationships are not steadfast. The only relationship that is enduring and faithful is the one with God.

 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)

 Doing good for others as onto Christ.

 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 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 25:34-40)

Our connection with God is the sole true relationship that will never fail us, never disappoint us, never leave us, NEVER.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 10/01/17) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

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The Lord Will Come Again–Is It Time?

“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens

 will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat,

and the earth and its works will be burned up.” (2 Peter 3:10)

 NOTE: The world will end on the day this blog is posted. It has been predicted by a man. The times are said to be right to justify this prediction with earthquakes occurring around the world, nations thrust against nations vying for power and greed, immorality and narcissism increasingly the norm, signs in the sky with the eclipse of the sun, the seas raging against the lands in hurricanes. Surely, the time has arrived for the Lord to come again:

 1 This know, also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God . . . (I Timothy 3:1-4)

 25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21: 25-27)

NOTE: You may– or may not– read this post before the end of the world. The Lord could come before the publication of this blog. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”(1 Thessalonians 5:2) And, yet, He, also, could not come until sometime in the distant future of human time. Jesus clearly states that only God knows when His Son is coming again:

But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven,

 but my Father only. (Matthew 24:36)

It is dangerous for men to presume to be the predictors of God’s timing. He is God. Our lives are in submission to His plans. We must always be prepared for the Lord’s coming:
Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. (Luke 21:25-28)

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The clock hands move to the clockmaker’s timing,

Winding down when the lifespan wanes,

Stopping when a man-made power source dies,

While the planets move in motion set by the Creator,

Continuing until He speaks the end of time,

The Words of His choosing, of His day and His hour.

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Let us watch and pray always. Let us live for Him every moment of time given to us.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 09/24/17)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

THE GRACE OF BIRTHRIGHT– ABBA FATHER

ABBA Father

Hands clasped

Prayers lifted

Words spoken

Child requests

Patient Parent

Love listens

 ABBA Father.

EL SHADDAI, Almighty God, is also ABBA Father. He is the One with awesome power controlling the seas and the storms that we fear. But He is also the Father protecting His children from the storms of life. Magnitude of power with one hand and gentle intimacy with the other hand, EL SHADDAI and ABBA are one.

ABBA is Love personified: Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:8)

ABBA adopts each of us as His own son or daughter:  Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” (Galatians 4:6)

 ABBA gives us understanding and comfort: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort . . . (2 Corinthians 1:3)

 ABBA provides strength and support: May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:5-6 )

ABBA sends the Holy Spirit to watch over us, His children: 15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.  (John 14:15-17)

ABBA has love enough for everyone: You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you. (Psalm 86:5)

ABBA Father

Quiet talking

Soul connect

Heart whispers

Love listens

Safe slumber

Ever present

ABBA Father.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 09/17/17) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

Surviving the Storms of Life

When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.

(Isaiah 43:2)

THE WATERS

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. (Isaiah 43:17-23)

SURVIVAL

9Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. 10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways . . . 17 “I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. 19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you.”   .  .  . 22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.                        (Isaiah 43: 9-12, 17-19, 22)

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THE FLAMES

10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. (2 Peter 3:10)

SURVIVAL

11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:11-13)

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Do we wait until the hurricanes, the tornadoes, the forest fires, the outside storms threaten before we seek refuge and safety in God? Do we only become desperate for safe harbor with Him when the winds assail, the waters rise, and the flames roar –endangering our very existence?

The storms are not just perils from the elements. We face our internal storms daily, hourly, every minute and every second of our lives in this world. The refuge is only found in God. The safe harbor is walking as God commands, so we can meet Him one day in the promise of “a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 09/10/17)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

The Comfort Place–With God

“In my Father’s house are many mansions…I go to prepare a place for you…”   (John 14:2)

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The hallways full of laughter, students shoving and pushing to get through, talking and texting simultaneously, gazing up at lists posted outside the school office.

“What homeroom do you have?” shouts one fifteen-year-old girl above the din.

“Same as last year. Same as next year!” the sixteen-year-old boy yells back.

Heading to his homeroom, the same one he had in his freshman year, this tenth grade student enters the room, locates the seat he occupied last year and sits down. It’s a comfortable spot, one he is familiar with, a place with a view he recognizes, one that feels safe—but he knows he can’t remain here. He will have to walk out of that room and enter new ones and sit in different seats with views that he doesn’t recognize or feel comfortable in.

Ten minutes pass and the door opens to a bustling crowd, loud and boisterous. He rises, but lingers. As others push past him, he remains, still looking at the seat.

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In 25 years of teaching, I regularly saw former students gravitate to the same seats they had the previous year. Nothing was assigned; they were just drawn to a place that was known to them. It was comfortable; it was something to hold onto in a time of change with new classes, different teachers, and difficult challenges.

Like these students, we also tend to choose conditions and places that are more secure—a “home room” that feels safe and familiar, where a sense of belonging exists. “I have a place here. I’m home.”

In an ever-changing world, such a place is hard to find. Job transitions take us to different cities, neighborhoods we live in change with new people, children grow up and leave—and yet we all, at some point, tend to make the journey back to that comfort area we call “home.” It is a place, however, that will always be transient here—the “throwback Thursday” phenomenon of nostalgia that we try to return to but can only visit in memory.

This secure place can only be found with God. His Home is ever-stable, always open, never-changing. It is the comfort place, the one with that familiar seat, the one we want to linger in always. “I have a place here. I’m home”—eternally.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.   (John 14:3)

(Sharon G. Tate blog 09/03/17) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

Witness: The Almighty Creator

 

1In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness He called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. (Genesis 1:1-3)

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 The Lord does whatever pleases Him,
    in the heavens and on the earth,
    in the seas and all their depths.

(Psalm 125:6)

 Witness: Day transforms to night.

Witness: I AM.

 He who forms the mountains,
    who creates the wind,
    and who reveals His thoughts to mankind,
who turns dawn to darkness,
    and treads on the heights of the earth—
    the Lord God Almighty is His name. (Amos 4:13)

 Witness: Night is consumed by the light of day.

Witness: God’s order in the universe restored.

 “You are worthy, our Lord and God,
    to receive glory and honor and power,
for You created all things,
    and by Your will they were created
    and have their being.”

(Revelations 4:11)

 Witness: An eclipse of the sun.

Witness: Our Creator and our God!

 AMEN!

 (Sharon G. Tate 08/27/17 blog) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

JOY in Trials

Can we experience God’s blessings through difficulty, tragedy, disease, or loss?

During such times, we may raise our hands to the skies while crying out, “Where are you, God?” Through the different phases of these hardships, our outcry may be “Why, Lord?” Inside, we may be struggling with the words, “Unfair. What have I done to deserve this?”

It takes a different perspective, not a human one, to move past these feelings and advance forward with the point of view revealed to us in the Word: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you are involved in various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But you must let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:2-4)

Our human selves do not normally find “joy” in trials. We experience pain, sorrow, depression, loss of hope and even anger. Faith can be lost during these times. But faith can, also, be greatly strengthened. To gain through trial, we have to perceive our struggles in a different way. Maybe when things are hard, that is when God is showing us just how much He does love us. Struggles can mold and shape us closer to His image; bring us to our knees before Him to seek His counsel, wisdom and forgiveness; and take us to the realization that we cannot make it alone without Him. We must be transformed by Him– to be with Him. Trials can create this change in us, and we can understand the joy in the Lord from a Godly view.

Our individual “thorn in the flesh” is hard to bear, but it may be the blessing given to bring about the change that is needed to help us grow as a Christian and remain faithful. Our experiences through trials may also be used to help others with the same problem. Our attitudes toward hardship may bring souls to Christ. All has been done/is done in love—and through joy in the hope given by Christ.

Can we experience God’s blessings through trials? The answer is “yes” for those who remain faithful and persevere through the difficulties of life, through the “thorns” and the trials. The promise of eternity awaits us beyond this mortal clock. No more loss there. No more tragedy there. No more disease there. NO MORE. In the presence of God, only blessings can abound. “Every generous act of giving and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father who made the heavenly lights, in whom there is no inconsistency or shifting shadow” (James 1:17).

Dear Lord, please help us see the blessings in trial. Help us use these trials to grow and mature in Christ. May we look for opportunities to bless others’ lives through our experiences with hardship.  Help us persevere to the day when it is all made clearer in Your presence.  Amen.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 08/20/17) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

The God-Ache Within Us

Desire for God

“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for.” (1)

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Have you ever wanted some “thing” so much that you pursued it with persistence and perseverance, expended a great deal of time and energy and, perhaps, money into seeking a way to have it– only to discover that when you finally obtained it, you lost that feeling of really needing or even wanting it? In a short time, the item might be stuffed away in a closet, unused and forgotten, eventually ending up in a garage sale. “I have it now, so what’s the next ‘thing’ that gives me the same feeling of want and desire because I don’t have it yet?”

What we desire and want say a lot about us. How we pursue those things also speaks volumes. These are physical, observable wants, but what is really special to us and what we truly “ache for” may be hidden in a solitary quest of the heart and soul, only seen by God, El Roi, Who sees all.

“What makes something special is not just what you have to gain but what you feel there is to lose.”(2)  Something that is very special goes beyond the “gain” of merely having it– to the “ache” of loss without it.

What do we truly “ache for?” Do we have an “ache” inside for Christ that is such a special desire and a want that we would do anything to never lose Him? Would we pursue a relationship with God at a greater degree of persistence and perseverance, giving our time in abundance, for such a yearning in our hearts and souls for Him?

The scriptures speak to this ache and yearning for the Lord, our God:

Isaiah 26:9 My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you. . .

Psalm 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

Psalm 42:2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? 

Psalm 63:1 You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.

Psalm 143:6  I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land.                        

John 6:27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”          

John 7:37-38 37 On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, 38 and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’”

What we earnestly seek, we will find, if it is in God. What we find, we will hold dear in the God-given soul that aches for Him and longs to be with Him eternally.

Thank you, Lord, for this God-ache within us that yearns for You. Only in You can we fulfill all our wants, our desires, and our needs. Only in You, can we find true satisfaction and peace.  Amen.

(1) Oriah Mountain Dream, poet

(2) Andre Agassi, tennis pro

(Sharon G. Tate blog 08/13/17)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

The Touch of the Master’s Presence

Raindrops lightly tapping against an uncovered head;

A strong wind pushing a young boy ahead of his steps;

The tree branch brushing across the face of a hiker;

A bee striking the hand of a woman in her garden;

The mother cradling her newborn son gently in her arms–

The Touch of the Master, who was in the beginning,

Creating with the touch of His voice,

Who Is and Will Forever Be a Presence.

We cannot go where the Master’s touch is not upon us.

 JESUS PHYSICALLY TOUCHED OTHERS IN HIS LIFE HERE.

The Master’s touch healed a leper:

A man with leprosy came and knelt before Him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” He said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. (Matthew 8:3)

The Master’s touch restored sight to the blind:

22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When He had spit on the man’s eyes and put His hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”

24 He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”

25 Once more Jesus put His hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. (Mark 8:22-25)

The Master’s touch raised the dead to life again:

12 As He approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, His heart went out to her and He said, “Don’t cry.” 14 Then He went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!”  15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. (Luke 7:12-15)

The Master’s touch calmed the fears of the disciples:

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!”

When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” He said. “Don’t be afraid.” (Matthew 17: 5-7)

Touching the Master brought Thomas to belief in the resurrection of Jesus:

25But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”(John 20:25-29)

 Although we have not seen, we have each been touched by the Master. We have felt His presence in all of creation around us; our fears have been calmed by His promises; sight has been restored more clearly to us by His Word; healing has taken place within us through His sacrifice; eternal life has been promised to us when we touch the hands and feet of the Savior, feel the nail wounds through faith—and BELIEVE.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 08/06/17) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

 

Praying Heart Whispers: Can We Hear Them?

        Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.                                                                    (Galatians 6:2)

Somewhere beneath the laughter

If we listen loud enough,

We can hear the heart-sounds whisper:

“I am hurting; I am sad.

Can you help me? Do you hear me?

I am struggling; it is hard.”

Whispers speak above the laughter-

When we listen loud enough.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. (Romans 12:15)

We are commanded to help each other and share the burdens and sorrows of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Can we hear their heart-sounds whispering to us? Do we listen loud enough?

Do we each read the list of names and the prayer requests in our weekly prayer insert in the bulletin? Do heart-sounds begin whispering to us? Can we hear the hurts, the sorrows, the disappointments, the regrets, the frustrations, the struggles, the pains, the burdens, the loneliness, the concerns, the fears, the losses, the needs, the wants, the hopes. . .

Do we pray the whispers?

How often do we pass each other and hear only the laughter? There are whispers from the heart being spoken all around us. Sometimes, they are written down for public prayer; sometimes, they are shared quietly with those we feel closest to; sometimes, they are not spoken at all—yet God still hears.  “. . . Would not God have discovered it, since he knows the secrets of the heart?” (Psalm 44:21)

God will always hear the whispers of our hearts, but for us to hear what is unspoken, we need Jesus in our own heart to help us listen to the murmurs. Let us know each other more deeply–beyond the surface, beneath the laughter—and listen with our hearts, more like Jesus.  “. . .The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (I Samuel 16:7) In order to “carry each other’s burdens,” we must also look at the hearts of our brothers and sisters—and listen loud enough.

(Sharon G. Tate 07/30/17 blog)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word