REMEMBERING OUR LORD’S SACRIFICE ALWAYS

1On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered His words. (Luke 24:1-7)

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Our memories, links in the chain of events that form our lives. We capture these events and the people involved in them through writing, photos and videos; store these links in files, picture frames, photo albums, computers, flash drives, and the cloud; and try to hold the images in our personal mind cache, stored away for retrieval when reminiscence tears our eyes and touches our hearts.

Without the means to retrieve these memories–through a written record, connections with those involved in them, or captured images to assist in remembrance–there are gaps in the chain, missing links that make us search, question, and seek the answers to bind the past to the present and find meaning in our lives.

God gave us the memory of our Lord’s sacrifice in the written Word. The answers are provided for what we seek inside us– to know Christ and have that connection with Him, the true meaning to our lives. Although we were not physically present with Jesus, we do see the cross, hear His last words, feel the agony of the nails, touch the wooden post stained with blood and look up to see the Savior dying for us as we connect in memory. Binding the past to our present life, we remember.

On the first day of the week, in the manner of the apostles as recorded in Acts 20:7 (On the first day of the week we came together to break bread…), we remember our Lord’s sacrifice in the act of communion: “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (I Corinthians 11:23- 26).

We are part of the chain, the links that bind us to Him and that day. We are brothers and sisters in the Lord, adopted sons and daughters of the Father. The memory is stored within us. We do not have to search, question, and seek—for God has provided the images. Our retrieval of these memories of our Lord’s sacrifice of love, beyond the first day of the week communion, indicates our commitment and love to Him. Do we remember often? Do we touch the cross in our minds, see our Lord looking down, and hear Him crying out: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 22:34)

But Jesus did not remain on the cross.  The Word tells us death could not hold Him. He is Risen–and we remember.

WE MUST REMEMBER ALWAYS. . .

(Sharon G. Tate blog 04/16/17) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

One Death—One Man on the Cross—The Only Begotten Son

 23 When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by His wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (I Peter 2:23-25)

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Healed by pierced hands.

Redeemed in innocent blood.

Eternal life from one death.

Not mine. Not yours. But His.

One man on the cross.

The only begotten Son.

He who had known life with the Father chose to trust God to be the Judge of others who insulted Him, who tortured Him.  The Son did not seek vengeance. Instead, He asked His Father to forgive.

For me. For you.

He who had known life with the Father chose to bear the sins of all humankind.  He carried the weight of guilt, the weight of knowing, the weight of suffering, the weight of sorrow, the weight of horror, the weight of agony, the weight of carnage, the weight of defiled innocence, the weight of darkness, the weight of abandonment by the Father. The Son bore the weight of sin in every form, from all time.

For me. For you.

He who had known life with the Father chose death, not a peaceful in-your-sleep slumber from which one does not awaken but a violent death of intense external and internal suffering and anguish.

For me. For you.

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We who have known life on this earth can choose to trust God. We can choose to forgive. We can choose to sacrifice ourselves for others. We can choose to follow Him, the man on the cross, the only begotten Son who gave His life.

For me. For you.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 04/09/17) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

BETRAYER OF JESUS: Could it be me?

 betrayal breaking God's heart

 Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present. (Luke 22: 3-6)

ME: When did I allow Satan to enter my heart for profit or human approval –and betray my Lord . . .

B E T R A Y A L

18 “I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared My bread has turned against Me.’ 19 “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am. 20 Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts Me; and whoever accepts Me accepts the One who sent Me.” 21 After He had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray Me.” (John 13:18-21)

ME: How have I caused my Lord to be “troubled in spirit” during the times when I was the one who betrayed Him by not following His commands, by not living my life fully for Him …

B E T R A Y A L

Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know Me.” (Luke 22:34)

ME: Have I ever denied Jesus? Did I allow an opportunity pass by when I could have stood up for Him—but didn’t-and, thus, betrayed Him . . .

B E T R A Y A L

45He said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes My betrayer!” 47 While He was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. (Matthew 26:45-49)

ME: Has my love for the Lord ever been untrue? Have I betrayed His love for me?

 B E T R A Y A L

Will Jesus ever say to me: “Here comes My betrayer!”

             Let us be true to our Lord, persevering in faith and watching with eyes wide open,                        focused on Jesus with

                   LOYALTY  FAITHFULNESS  DEVOTION

(Sharon G. Tate blog 04/02/17) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

In the Presence of the Lord: Approaching God in Prayer

“…by this time you ought to be teachers; you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!” Hebrews 5:12

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The language of a 16-month-old:

Talking at the speed of movement,

Chatter that sounds like nonsense,

Earnest sounds directed to an object,

Unrecognizable noise in motion,

Conversation with a stuffed animal,

Requests in his own sign language,

Whimpering whines with pleas,

Loud cries for instant attention,

Laughter, chatter, whines, cries.

The babble of baby speech.

In the presence of our God, we may believe that our communion with Him in prayer is at a level of maturity. But what if the Lord only hears hurried talking and chattering that appear as nonsense, lacking significance? What if He mostly hears whimpering whines and loud cries from us? Will He even hear a few recognizable words–worthy enough to be spoken– before our language again regresses into chatter, whines, pleas, cries, and babble?

13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.  (Hebrews 5: 13-14)

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In the presence of our Lord, are we still in the developmental stages of language and expression? How should we speak to our God:

Matthew 6:7 –And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words

Proverbs 10:14 –Wise men store up knowledge, But with the mouth of the foolish, ruin is at hand.

2 Timothy 2:16 –But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness…

Matthew 6:7-8(7)And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. (8) So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

How should we approach our Lord and our God:

Jeremiah 29:13 — You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart.

Hebrews 4:16 — Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Psalm 100:4 –Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name!

God has granted us the privilege of approaching Him in prayer. We can speak with the Almighty Creator of the universe. We can talk, one-on-one, with the Most High. Let Him hear in our words that we are seeking to know Him. Let Him hear in our language that we are in awe of His presence. Let Him hear in our expression that we are thankful for His love and grace. Let Him hear through the tone of our communication that we love Him. Although we are His children, our conversations with God should reflect our growth in Him, beyond childish “me” talk and “empty chatter.”

(Sharon G. Tate 03/26/17 blog) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

I CAN THROUGH CHRIST!

I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO

STRENGTHENS ME. (Philippians 4:13)

Within this one verse, Christians can find hope, courage, support, and the will to persevere through “all things” that we encounter in this life. It is a simply stated verse with profound implications and possibilities for each one of us. What have we done with this verse in our lives? What does it really mean for you and me?

Instead of looking at the whole of the statement, an analysis of the individual parts can explain why this verse is so important to each Christian:

“I”   The first word makes the entire verse very directed to me with the use of the personal pronoun “I.” It means that “I” am the one speaking these words—aloud, in writing, while reading, in thought, in prayer.

“CAN”   It is possible for me, but the word “can” also reveals that it is up to me. “I can” if I want to; “I can” if I have courage to try; “I can” if I have faith to believe; “I can” when I seek God’s help. The use of this word shows if I don’t have the “I can” belief, it is unlikely I will proceed to action.

“DO”   This is the follow through to “I CAN.” It is up to me to act on the belief that “I can” in order to “do all things.” The little engine that kept saying “I think I can, I think I can” would not have made it to the top and over the mountain – if it hadn’t gone beyond merely thinking the words. The little engine needed to act, and so must I.

“All”   In many situations, a statement containing the “all” word is too inclusive, making it false. There are almost always exceptions to “all.” If we didn’t read the entire verse, stopping at “I can do all things”—then the statement would be untrue. By myself, I cannot do all things. This means I must recognize my dependence on God who can help me “do all.”

“Things” We tend to think of “things” in respect to physical objects. Yet, a “thing” has an expansive range of coverage. It has no specific name—so it can be just about anything. God has no limitations. Only I can limit what He wants to do for me —and what He wants me to do for Him.

“Through Christ”   He is the Way. He is the Door. I must go “through” Him to “do all things.”

“Who”   A pronoun replaces and references a noun. The noun in this case is Christ. There is no other “Who” but Him. Jesus Christ is the “Who” strengthening me– so “I can do all things.”

“Strengthens”   Christ holds me up when I feel I cannot and helps me see that “I can” with- and through- Him.

“Me”   Full circle in the verse- from “I” in the beginning and back to “me” in the ending–I see that I truly need Him. Christ is my personal Cheerleader, my personal Coach, my personal Example, my personal Friend, my personal Savior, my personal Redeemer.

Although the verse begins with “I” and ends with “me,” it is not about me. It is always about Him. Alone, I am a weak vessel. Through Him, I can become stronger and “do all things” that He wants me to do and get through—for Him.

Have we really examined this verse to become fully aware of the meaning, the possibilities, the hope, and the promise God is so willing to offer to us? They are endless, but the words I must say and act upon, with unfailing belief, in order to do all things are —“I can through Christ.”

(Sharon G. Tate blog 03/19/17) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

Our All-Powerful God: The Calm in the Storm

When He thunders, the waters in the heavens roar;
He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth.
He sends lightning with the rain
and brings out the wind from His storehouses.

(Jeremiah 10:13)

 POWERFUL

ALMIGHTY

OMNIPOTENT

COMMANDING

SOVEREIGN

SUPREME

ALL-POWERFUL

 We serve an AWESOME GOD!

The winds lifted shingles off roofs, knocked down power lines, shook cables on the Mackinaw Bridge, felled trees on houses, shoved pedestrians along the sidewalk, left families in darkness, stole warmth from homes, sent objects flying in defiance of gravity– as uncharged smartphones lay silent on shelves.

Newscasters reported the strength and impact of the winds, weathermen issued warnings by intensity, dispatch operators answered the overwhelming surge of calls, emergency personnel reactively responded. But NO ONE could calm the winds.

Yet, there was ONE who could, as He had shown this power before to His disciples:

(Mark’s account: Mark 4:36-39) 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took Him along, just as He was, in the boat. There were also other boats with Him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

(Mark’s account: Mark 4:36-39) 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took Him along, just as He was, in the boat. There were also other boats with Him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

(Matthew’s account: Matthew 8:23-26) 23 Then He got into the boat and his disciples followed Him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

The calm in the storm. We can only experience it through faith and trust in our All-Powerful God. The calm after the storm. It can only come when we go through the storm with our Lord who cares for us.

Who has gone up to heaven and come down?
Whose hands have gathered up the wind?
Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is His name, and what is the name of His son?
Surely you know! (Proverbs 30:4)

No mere man or woman can gather the winds and order them to “Be still.” The stillness can only be found when we are in the same boat as Christ, the One who can rebuke the winds– and us when we lack faith in His Power and His Love.

(Sharon G. Tate -3/12/2017 blog ) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

PRAY WITHOUT CEASING . . .

THE IMPORTANCE OF PRAYER
               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” means the following: “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).

                                                         TO PERSEVERE MEANS TO ACT.

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.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 03/06/17) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

The Source of Truth

The Lord detests lying lips, but He delights in people who are trustworthy.

(Proverbs 12:22)

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As a high school teacher, I received numerous “excuses” for late homework, incomplete homework, or no homework submitted at all. The majority of these explanations were not true. Some students would retract these excuses and provide honest information, but many would strongly continue to declare these excuses as “truths” and even obtain the support of friends who, likewise, strongly stated the “truthfulness” of their friend’s excuses. Lying was acceptable and definitely desirable- if it worked.

A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will not escape. (Proverbs 19:5)

Lying didn’t work with me though.  One student was shocked that lying would be punished by serving an hour in after-school detention. In disbelief, he asked me several times if I was actually serious. Lying was not a “big thing” to him. It still isn’t seen as a “big deal” to many in our society and culture today, especially when it works to one’s advantage.

“It’s official: Truth is dead. Facts are passe. Oxford Dictionaries has selected ‘post-truth’ as 2016’s international word of the year.” 1

The international word of the year is an untruth, a lie. Yet, it does depict the decline in our society regarding belief in the One standard for Truth:

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)

Truth IS Truth and there can be nothing beyond it, after it, or supplemental to it. God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” This leaves no “pre” or “post” interpretation. TRUTH IS. This, also, leaves no “pre” or “post” interpretation.

The danger in not confronting untruth is that someone may never be set free to enter the joys of being with the Lord.  Instead, one may be left to the wiles of Satan: You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”  (John 8:44)

Lying IS a “big thing.” It can result in an eternity without God. Ignoring untruth, remaining silent, being noncommittal can affect someone’s eternity—and our own as well. 16 There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19 a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.  (Proverbs 6:16-19)

 “It’s official: TRUTH IS ALIVE!” It is our responsibility to spread the Word of Truth.

 1 “ ‘Post-truth’ named 2016 word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries” By Amy B Wang November 16, 2016 http://www.washingtonpost.com.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 02/26/17)  teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

Behold the Light of God!

Light of the world

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17)

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Peering out the plane window,
Clouds drifting, shape-shifting,
An opaqueness one cannot penetrate-
Until the plane climbs higher,
Breaking through the cloud barrier,
Rising to meet the sunlight,
Bursting forth in brilliance
To shine across faces of travelers,
Blinded until their eyes can behold
The glory of an endless sea of light.

The difficulties we face in this life can seem unending at times. We lose our focus, adrift in uncertainty and the unknown. Nothing seems to have a definite form, like the changing clouds. We cannot break through the cover to see the light. Yet, we know it is there–on the other side.

The Lord is waiting. His Light will show us the way. We must rise to meet Him, bursting through our own cloud barrier, to see His brilliance and behold His glory.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

(Sharon G. Tate blog 02/19/17) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

Jesus Defines Love from the Cross

Father-Forgive-Them-245lpmc

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:13)
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Valentine’s Day, a time when the card companies, flower shops, and candy stores take in the profits. Love is in the mail and in the flower shop vans– sent and delivered. Love is in the stores where merchandise is promoted for one’s sweetheart. Love is in the restaurants by candlelight. Love in one day –February 14th.

Can love be fully expressed in a day? There was ONE DAY when love was truly demonstrated and given, not with candy, flowers, cards, or dinner at a fancy restaurant–but on a wooden cross.
For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Jesus gave us the example of what love is through His actions:
(16)This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (17) If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? (18) Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.  (1 John 3:16-18)

Our Lord exemplified humility on the cross as He took our sins upon Himself. He showed great patience with us, even as sin continued while He endured this trial. He acted in gentleness, not lashing out at those who were crucifying Him, but instead asking the Father to forgive them–to forgive us.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians 4:2)

The love Christ showed to us all that day on the cross, with outstretched hands held by nails, has endured past those dark hours to the sunrise when He arose and to every sunrise thereafter and yet to come. Love knows no boundaries of time.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are                 tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.                                    (1 Corinthians 13:8)

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Purchase the card, the candy, the flowers, and go to the restaurant on Valentine’s Day, knowing that it is only one day of many. Love is washing dishes, doing laundry, watching the kids to let a spouse rest, sitting quietly together without conversation on the beach, staying up all night with a sick child, spending time with an elderly neighbor, listening to a baby sleep. Love is in the days.

To know Love is to know Christ, the crucified Savior, the victorious Redeemer:
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:8)

(Sharon  G. Tate blog 02/12/17) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word