Our Seasons with God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Seasons praying hands of ages

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

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

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

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We Are Orphaned Without God

ADOPTED CHILDREN-WITH GOD.

Orphans none with God

 ORPHANED- WITHOUT GOD.

O: Outcast
R: Rogue
P: Poor
H: Hungry
A: Abandoned
N: Needy
E: Excluded
D: Desperate

Outcast: We are the cast out from God’s promise of heaven if we do not follow and obey His Word.
Rogue: Without the Father, we are wandering beggars in this world without the hope of His grace and Providence.
Poor: We are only rich through the love of God, through His blessings, through the sacrifice of His Son, and through His grace. Without Him, we face the poverty of an existence devoid of God.
Hungry: Within every human being, God embedded a soul that yearns for His Presence. When we ignore this longing, we remain constantly hungry and unfulfilled.
Abandoned: God cannot bring us into His Light if we do not accept Him as the Father and His Son as our Savior. We are alone, abandoned in the darkness.
Needy: As the Lord provides for the birds of the air and the flowers in the field, His adopted sons and daughters are cared for more abundantly than we can ever imagine. Our needs are never met without Him.
Excluded: When the Judgment Day is upon us, we will not be welcomed into His Presence, excluded from His grace and love for a timeless eternity.
Desperate: Our situation is desperate without Him. There is no hope; there is no true understanding of love; there is no future; there is no peace in our souls. The final desperation will be upon us when He speaks the words: “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:23)

We are not Fatherless, unless we choose to be ORPHANED- WITHOUT GOD.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 11/12/17)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

Do We Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness?

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled. (Matthew 5:6)

H—Hunting                            T—Transforming

U—Understanding.                H—Hunger.

N—Needful                             I —Insatiable

G—Growth.                             R—Redemption.

E—Emancipating                  S—Summoning

R—Renewal.                           T—Truth.

Do we truly hunger and thirst for righteousness before God? A hunger is a need to be satisfied, to be filled. It is a gnawing pain inside that growls, telling us that we must find a way to ease it.

What does our “hungering” for God and His righteousness sound like in our everyday lives? Does it find expression in our words, in our prayers, in our actions? Do we hunt for the understanding to try and be what God wants us to be? Do we pursue the change we need in order to reach an emancipating renewal in our lives?

Once our hunger seems satisfied with understanding and change, will we continue to thirst? Will we always have an insatiable hunger, a strong desire for His redeeming love in our hearts?

 . . . like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation. . . (I Peter2:2)

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. (John 6:35)

O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water. (Psalm 63:1)

I stretch out my hands to You; My soul longs for You, as a parched land. Selah.  (Psalm 143:6)

Transformation will occur when we truly listen to His summoning Truth. It calls us to be His, beckoning us to share His Word with others that they may hunger and thirst as well–and be filled.

Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”(John 4:13-14)

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. (John 6:35)

. . . Until the time when we will hunger and thirst no more—for we will be with Him. Amen.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 10/22/17) 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

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

Leading children to God the Father

“Do not call anyone on earth your Father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.” (Matthew 23:9)

ONE EARTHLY DAD

DADS .  . .  Strong hands lifting us up to the sky.  Sitting on top of his shoulders, seeing the world from his view.  Holding us in his lap while reading the same story again and again with the same emphasis and emotion.  Sending us to our rooms for time out.  Praying to God at the dinner table. Patiently helping us learn how to ride a bike.  Clapping loudly and yelling out our names when we sing our one solo line at the fourth grade choir performance. Sitting downstairs in the chair asleep, waiting for us to get home from that first date.  Writing the first check toward our college tuition. Walking us down the aisle on our wedding day.  Proudly holding the first grandchild, while remembering holding us for the first time.

DADS . . . The scent of after shave. The feel of a scruffy beard. The touch of calloused hands. The tall presence with big shoes.  The stern voice. The patient voice. The whisper of love

DADS . . . God gave each of us a dad. Some were present in our lives; some were not, even when physically present. Other dads gave us a sense of the one Father we share, as we were sheltered under his protection, discipline, and love.

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ONE HEAVENLY FATHER  of us ALL

FATHER: We each share the same One.“Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.” (1 Corinthians 8:6)

FATHER: He created us from the beginning. “But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)

FATHER: His love is beyond earthly parenting. He blessed us by calling us His own children. “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.” (1 John 3:1)

FATHER: He has given us blessings beyond this temporal world. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ…” (Ephesians 1:3) “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (I Peter 1:3)

FATHER: He is merciful to us who do not deserve mercy  and the giver of all comfort when we seek Him. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:3)

FATHER: He provides for us in all ways, even when we do not ask, even beyond what we can ask. “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” ( Matthew 6:26)

FATHER: He disciplines us with love to lead us on the right path. 11My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke 12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” (Proverbs 3: 11-12)

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Dads who follow the Lord and trust fully in Him can be the example for their children, showing them a glimpse of the character traits of the Father.

Dads can help lead their children to the Lord.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 06/18/17) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

WHO ARE MY MOTHER AND BROTHERS?

46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, His mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to Him. 47 Someone told Him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” 48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to His disciples, He said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:46-50)

WHO IS MY SON?

25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” 27 Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home. (John 19:25-27)

WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR?

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” He replied. “How do you read it?” 27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10: 25-29)

Jesus answered the expert in law’s question with a parable of a man who was beaten, robbed, and left to die. Three people reacted to the man’s plight—two passing by on either side of the road, one stopping and going the extra mile to provide assistance and healing.

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied,

“The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:36-37)

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My mother is the 85-year-old woman in the nursing home who looks out the window waiting for someone to come;  my brother is the unemployed father of three who stands in line with 500 others hoping for a job; my son is the recently discharged soldier grappling with PTSD and depression; my neighbor is the child fleeing from a country where he is underfed and abused.
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Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, family, neighbors. We tend to have a very limited view of family and neighbors. God’s perspective is much larger, broader, and inclusive. The bloodline of family with God is really from Christ, not from our great-great-greats…. down the lineage of personal ancestry. My neighbors are, also, my family, each one created by God.

In every person, I can find a common heritage, a common Savior, a common love. I should not see with eyes that only view similarity; I must, also, look into the differences and find commonality in them. The commonality is from that portion of God’s divine nature imbued in each soul. It is my directive as well to show acceptance, mercy, and love to others who are my “neighbors.” I, too, must “Go and do likewise.”

And what if everyone followed this directive. . .

(Sharon G. Tate 06/11/17 blog)  teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

In the Likeness of Christ: The Other before Me

“Can a woman forget her nursing child,
And not have compassion on the son of her womb? (Isaiah 49:15)

 M O T H E R

Other is the focus,

Child before her.

Mirroring selfless

His likeness to see.

 IF ONLY we could care for each other like the mother who loves her newborn child—unconditionally, tenderly, wholeheartedly embracing the responsibility of loving, caring, and giving to the “other” over self. This love may be likened to God giving His Son to us. We did not earn His act of love any more than the child born from his mother’s womb who feels the secure love of his mother’s embrace immediately. God’s embrace is there for us every moment of our lives. We are each the “other” who must accept His love, so He can keep us close to Him.

 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! (Matthew 23:37)

 We must be willing to accept this embrace of Jesus. The figurative language used in the passage above is of a mother hen protecting her young chicks with her own wings. The chicks are secure, while the hen has exposed herself to bear the burden of any external onslaught against her babies. Jesus, similarly, bore the pain and weight of the sin that would harm us eternally. His protection and security are there when we seek refuge with Him.

 As one whom his mother comforts,
So I will comfort you;
And you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 66:13)

The mother’s comfort is tender and compassionate. The similar comparison is made to the Lord’s comfort in this passage. It is the kind of giving, selfless love that we should strive to mirror and reflect in our own words and actions.

Other is the focus,

You before me,

Mirroring Christ

His likeness to see.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 05/14/17) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

God’s Blessing of Friends

FRIENDSHIP

F: Faithful

R: Real

I:  Interwoven

E: Enduring

N: Nurturing

D: Discerning

S: Sharing

H: Hearing

I:  Involved

P: Personal

BIBLICAL EXAMPLES:

FAITHFUL: “Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Stay here; the Lord has sent me to Bethel.’ But Elisha said, ‘As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.’ So they went down to Bethel.” (2 Kings 2:2)

REAL: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 12:13)

INTERWOVEN: Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.” (I Peter 3:8) Saul, the one who had tortured and killed Jews, gained new sight on the road to Damascus and followed Christ. Barnabas accepted him, becoming involved at the risk of his own reputation and life, for they were like-minded in a common purpose—to teach and preach the message of Christ.

ENDURING: A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”  (Proverbs 17:17) In a world of transience and impermanence, the love of a friend who is there at all times, good and bad, is a true blessing from God, the One whose love endures forever.

NURTURING: Whoever serves Me must follow Me; and where I am, My servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves Me.” (John 12:26)  To follow Christ and be where He is, with the Teacher who instructs with love, compassion, reproof, and direction to become more like Him. Friends, likewise, nurture the best in us.

DISCERNING: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)  Helping you become a better person as you, also, help him or her in the same manner.

SHARING: Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

HEARING: Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.” (Proverbs 19:20)  We like to give advice, but how often do we listen. A real friend’s advice or criticism is given out of concern and love for us.

INVOLVED: 12 Then Jonathan said to David, ‘I swear by the Lord, the God of Israel, that I will surely sound out my father by this time the day after tomorrow! If he is favorably disposed toward you, will I not send you word and let you know? 13 But if my father intends to harm you, may the Lord deal with Jonathan, be it ever so severely, if I do not let you know and send you away in peace. May the Lord be with you as he has been with my father.’ ” (Proverbs 20:12-13) To know what is happening in your friend’s world and become involved, even at personal cost.

PERSONAL: The only way to have a friend is to be one.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson

FRIENDSHIP FROM GOD: “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:7-8)

                            Through personal examination, what kind of friend am I?                                                                  What kind of friend could I be in the Lord?

¹www.brainyquote.com

(Sharon G. Tate blog 04/30/17) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

SINGING PRAISES TO OUR LORD

sing-to-the-lord

Approaching the Lord

In vocal praise,

With words of song,

Penned from hearts

Joyful with love

To the God of grace,

Thankful with hope

To the God of mercy.

 Throughout scripture, it is evidenced that men and women sang praises to the Lord:

Psalms 95:1– O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation.

Colossians 3:16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

Exodus 5: 1-2 -Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord: “I will sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted. Both horse and driver He has hurled into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise Him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”

Ephesians 5:19 – Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.

Psalms 13:6 – I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me.

James 5:13 – Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.

Psalms 105:2 -Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts.

1 Corinthians 14:15 -So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding.

Isaiah 12:5 -Sing to the Lord, for He has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.

Acts 16:25 – About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.

Psalms 71:8 – My mouth is filled with Your praise, declaring Your splendor all day long.                         

Hebrews 2:12– I will declare Your name to my brothers and sisters;  in the assembly I will sing Your praises.

Psalms 104:33 -I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as l live.

Approaching the Lord

With vocal praise,

Raising our voices

In song and hymn

To our listening God,

Who hears our hearts

Speaking love,

Offering thanks.

 Let us be like the Psalmist David and sing to the Lord all our lives, offering praise to our God as long as we each shall live on this earth—and beyond into eternity with Him.

(Sharon  G. Tate blog 12/18/16) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word