WHAT WOULD I HAVE DONE? The question seeks an answer.

 

37 Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow You now? I will lay down my life for You.” 38 Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for Me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown Me three times! (John 13:37-38)

What would I have done?

The question seeks an answer.

Lay down my life for Him

And never disown my Lord.

Like Peter, I would boldly speak.

 17 “You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” she asked Peter. He replied, “I am not.”

25 Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?” He denied it, saying, “I am not.”

26 One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” 27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow. (John 18:17, 25-27)

What would I have done?

The question seeks an answer.

Within myself, I find doubt-

Denial, fear, guilt, sorrow.

Like Peter, I am also weak.

60 Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the words the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:60-62)

What would I have done?

The question seeks an answer.

I feel the Savior’s eyes on me-

Peering, knowing, forgiving.

Like Peter, I am weeping too.

13 . . . “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?”

14 And they said, “Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.”

15 He saith unto them, “But whom say ye that I am?”

16 And Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven.

18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:13-18)

What would I have done?

The question seeks an answer.

Respond with “some say” or declare-

“My Lord is the Christ, the Son of God.”

Like Peter, let me boldly speak.

A weak vessel becomes strong. His actions declare, “I am His disciple.”  His faith speaks God’s Truth, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” He follows the command to go and spread this Truth to others.

WHAT WILL I DO TODAY?

The question seeks an answer.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 03/11/18) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

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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

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

“God with us” : Our Hope from a Child

manger-to-cross

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means ‘God with us’). Matthew 1:23

 “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)

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The baby’s eyes reflect the Light;

Conceived to serve mankind,

Little hands and feet will grow

To endure the pain of nails.

A savior born to redeem must die.

Can it be that one so small

Bears such a weight as this.

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The child, the man, the Son–as One,

Carrying the burden of promise-

At the Manger, the Garden, the Cross;

Compassion, redemption, salvation.

A cry at birth, a cry at death.

Can it be that one so small

Bears such a weight as this.

The Reason to Rejoice this Season—and all Seasons

Then the shepherds returned, glorifying God and praising God for

all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.”

(Luke 2:20)

 As it has been told to us through the Word, let us rejoice in the birth

of Jesus and the fulfillment of the prophecy that led to our salvation.

(Sharon G. Tate 12/25/16 blog) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

The Wise Seek Wisdom: The Journey to Worship Christ

wise_men_still_seek_him_b

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” 1

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1Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.”

. . .Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared; and he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” When they had heard the king they went their way; and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. (Matthew 2:1-2, 7-10)

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The wise men did not need Herod to prod them to follow the star in search of the Christ child. They had already determined in their hearts and minds that this was their path. They had traveled far and would not be deterred from seeking and worshipping Him who was prophesied.

The guide: A night light in the sky to lead them to the Light who would extinguish all night, all fear of darkness.

They had seen His star in the East.  Significantly, the east is the place of sunrise.  A new dawn for mankind was beginning in a birth that would change the world. The wise men came to worship this child who would grow and keep “increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52). As a young lad of twelve, He would be found “sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions; 47 and all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers”  (Luke 2:46-47). As a grown man, He would teach in the synagogue; and the teachers would be awed by His learning: “Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to him, and such miracles as these performed by his hands?” (Mark 6:2)

But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption… (I Corinthians 1:30)

The wise men sought the one who, they believed, had “been born king of the Jews.” They had traveled a great distance to find Him. “The star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was” (Matthew 27:9).  Although they did not understand His kingdom would not be of this earth, they were right to seek Him and worship Him, the embodiment of “wisdom from God.”  When we, likewise, choose to seek and worship the Lord, He will go before us, guide us, and lead us through the darkness, even if by a glimmer, until His full glory is revealed.

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. (Hebrews 1:3)

And the wise still seek Him– not by a star, not by fate, not by destiny but by an earnest desire and need to find the Christ and worship Him.

1 Lisa Mantchev, Eyes Like Stars. www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/stars

(Sharon G. Tate blog 12/11/16) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

BLESSED ASSURANCE IN CHRIST

assurance-in-christ

It times of distress, where do we go for help?

 “In Sorrow I Wandered,

Does Jesus Care?

Whispering Hope,

Heaven Came Down,

In Loving Kindness Jesus Came,

He Touched Me.

I Lay My Sins On Jesus,

He Knows Just What I Need,

A Shelter In The Time Of Storm,

God Is My Refuge.

Into The Heart Of Jesus,

I Know Whom I Have Believed,

Glory To His Name,

I Will Sing Of My Redeemer,

I Will Sing The Wondrous Story,

A Wonderful Savior,

Nearer Still Nearer,

I Know That My Redeemer Lives.

It Is No Secret,

In The Cross Of Christ I Glory,

Washed In the Blood,

Saved, Saved!

Victory in Jesus,

How Firm A Foundation,

Rock Of Ages,

Jesus Is Mine.

Love Lifted Me,

No One Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus,

Safe In The Arms Of Jesus,

He Whispers Sweet Peace To Me,

Peace, Perfect Peace,

There Is A Place Of Quiet Rest,

There’s A Rainbow In The Cloud,

It Is Well With My Soul,

Thank You, Lord.”

The lyrics of songs contain assuring words. Let us not only sing the notes but the words with blessed assurance that Jesus has been, is, and always shall be there for us as our Savior and Lord.

(Sharon G. Tate 10/16/16)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

THE LAST BREATHS OF CHRIST: LESSONS FROM THE CROSS

last-words-of-christ

 37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that He thus breathed His last, he said,

“Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15: 33-39)

Breath.  Breathing.  Inhale. Exhale. Breathe.

It isn’t something most people stop to think about. Breathing is just automatic to many. Breath is there.

Breath is life. Without it, like Jesus, we breathe our last and die, ending our mortal lives. But what lives on, that is still breathing life into others around and beyond us? The centurion declared that Jesus must be the Son of God, based on what he saw and heard. What did he do after that? How was he affected and how did he affect others through this testimony? What lived on through spoken words breathed out?

Our lives can be a living, breathing testimony to Christ. When we cease to be in this life and take our last breath, have we thought about what those standing around us will say? What will they utter in small breaths? What will they declare afterward? How will we each yet live and breathe-even after our last breath?

Jesus used the last breaths He had to speak some very important words that yet live and breathe in us:

— Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up His clothes by casting lots. (Luke 23:34)

— Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

26 When Jesus saw His mother there, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. (John 19:26-27)

— About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).  (Matthew 27:46)

— Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” (John 19:28)

— After Jesus had taken the wine, He said, “It is finished.” Then He bowed his head and released His spirit. (John 19:30)

— Then Jesus cried out with a loud voice and said, “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.” After He said this, He breathed His last. (Luke 23:46)

Until and after His last breath, Jesus was teaching:

–Forgiveness to enemies, to those who do not come to our defense, to those who walk away.

–The reality of heaven, this prepared place where He will take us home to be with Him eternally.

–Responsibility to care and provide for family, an elder parent.

–The meaning of sin as anguished separation from God.

–Obedience to scripture and God’s Word, to the letter.

–The importance of completing everything God requires.

–That we must- and will—entrust our spirits to God in the end.

 Teaching in breaths, exhaling. Learning in breaths, inhaling.

Breathe in the lessons. Breathe out His Words. Share Jesus.  

Will we yet live and breathe—after our last breath?

(Sharon G. Tate blog 10/02/16)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

The Ultimate Sacrifice: Voices Silenced…Voices Still Heard

Salvation

Knowing. Most people do not know when they are going to die, but there is One who did. Jesus Christ knew that His part in God’s plan meant the ultimate sacrifice for a human, the form He had on this earth. He must give His life so that we, the rest of mankind, might have life eternal. There was no other option. Christ prayed in the Garden:  “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). But Jesus knew His Father’s will, the plan from the beginning, would prevail, and He would fulfill the needed sacrifice.

Knowing. What would it be like to “know” the fate that awaits us in this life? The inner controversy over knowing one’s genome history and testing for predictive disease like Alzheimer’s or pancreatic cancer involves the question we would have to answer: “Do we really want to know it will happen to us at some time in our lives?” For many, this might be a looming dread, affecting every day forward from the point of awareness. For others, it could be a positive affirmation to live life more completely and appreciate every day given. Knowing could make us more fearful and vulnerable–or knowing could make us more purposeful in our life journey.

Knowing. Our Lord made His earthly life purposeful, with God’s purpose, knowing what was to come. He shared and taught His Truth and mentored the disciples to follow His lead. He healed the sick, gave the example of prayer, and took time to pray alone with the Father. He cared for His friends and wept with them when a family member died. He loved us all, even those who were not yet born.

Knowing.  Jesus knew His task on this earth and questioned His earthly parents who were looking for Him, “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49). He knew the plan, for He was in the beginning with God:  “ 1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it… 14 The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-5,14). His task on earth was to teach God’s Truth and give the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom from sin that we might have everlasting life with Him.

Knowing. Soldiers who go to war also know they might have to make this ultimate sacrifice to help secure the freedom of others-loved ones, acquaintances, strangers, and those not yet born. We designate a Memorial Day every May to remember their sacrifices. Like Christ, they are not really dead, for they speak to us through the freedom we have from their final bequest—their lives.

ArlingtonCemetery

“Are they dead that yet speak louder than we can speak, and a more universal language? Are they dead that yet act? Are they dead that yet move upon society and inspire the people with nobler motives and more heroic patriotism?” ¹

Knowing. We know, through faith, that Christ lives and still inspires us to strive toward His higher purposes. And we praise and thank Him. We know, through our experience in this earthly realm, that fallen soldiers live through the legacy of freedom that they bestow to us. And we thank them.

The Ultimate Sacrifice: Voices Still Heard

     In Remembrance

 

¹Beecher, Henry Ward. http://www.goodreads.com/quotes

(Sharon G. Tate blog 05/29/16)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

Mankind’s True Hero, Jesus Christ: The man who was God, the God who became man

 Power in name of Jesus

Heroes. Hollywood has them in abundance: Superman, Batman, Iron Man, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, Flash, The Justice League, Thor, Ant Man, and on and on as the movie industry spins their larger-than-life, superhuman tales on the big screen. Their mythical stories are told and retold through prequels, sequels, and modernized renditions as millions become engaged in these tales at the theaters or in their own homes. But what are we seeking through these heroes of myth and lore?

Why do we seem to have this need for a superhuman hero in our culture, someone who will “save the day” and protect us from the bad guys and the evil villains? The answer is really a simple one: We have a need for mankind’s true hero, Jesus Christ, the Savior. Many do not know His story, which is not a tale or a myth but a real life lived and given on this earth for us. We have a need for this Savior, our Redeemer—the man who was God, the God who became a man.

The story of Jesus has characteristics similar to that of a superhero. He has superhuman powers: healing lepers, the blind, the lame; casting out demons; bringing a man back from the dead; walking on water; calming the seas and the winds; knowing a man’s thoughts; dying and rising again to life. His superhuman costume is described in Isaiah 11:5: “Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.” Garbed in this “costume,” Jesus confronts a superhuman villain, the devil, in the desert. Satan tries to tempt Him, but Jesus is not swayed and remains strong of mind and purpose, even after fasting 40 days and nights. (10) Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” (11) Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended Him. (Matthew 4:10-11) Defeated, Satan departs and heavenly beings arrive to minister to Jesus, physically weakened in this mortal state, which He chose to become in order to protect and save us.

Superheroes are always protectors of others, the defense against evil. Jesus is the ultimate Protector: “He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; He gently leads those that have young.” (Isaiah40:11) A superhero will personally suffer and even sacrifice himself to protect others. Jesus, our Savior, did this for all mankind: “For this reason He had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.” (Hebrews 2:17) This atonement came in the form of His own death: “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” (Romans 4:25)

Often, a superhero is not from this world. Jesus also had another home which He left for us: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) The sacrifice was great; it was all for us.

Hero worship can occur with those who have great powers and make supreme sacrifices. (17) When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. (18) I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” (Revelations 1:17-18) In this case, the worship is not merely “hero worship” but  true worship toward the one and living Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.

The world needs to hear the story of Jesus. He already “saved the day” for all of us and gives us protection from sin and evil if we but follow Him. The cross was His weapon, His blood our shield. The sequel includes us in the story when we seek, believe, and follow His Truth–not the myths, tales, and gods of men.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 02/28/16) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word