It’s been quite awhile since I’ve shared a letter from our sister in Christ, who is Inside Israel, but when I read the email she sent the other day, in remembrance of the 6,000,000 (yes, six million) Jews who were martyred, during World War II, for their race, culture and faith in the One True God, that we Christian Believers love and worship, I had to share it. As you read this email, let those of us who have been grafted in, always remember God’s love for His chosen people has never waned, and one day, they, the true branches will also proclaim the name of Jesus, bringing even greater blessings to us!
12 Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it.
Beloved readers, as you read this email from our beloved sister Inside Israel, let us also remember to pray for the peace of Israel, who is still very much hated by the rest of the world:
Shalom again to Holocaust Memorial and Remembrance Day…Yom h’Shoar…Welcome, Lord of all comfort and Truth into this day.Invade the hearts of those whose hearts have been so damaged by the unimaginable and yet still hope against hope that there is Truth, Hope and justice…May we who have seen The Face of Truth, Hope and Justice bring your Light into this darkening world.
Yes, it has been ‘Yom h’shoar’ (Day of Holocaust literally but called the Remembrance day for the martyrs of the Holocaust, or just Holocaust Memorial day) once again, with its full ‘shock’ of entry and time of deep reflection.
How does one begin to grieve or share the grief of 6,000,000,000…six million?
One at a time.
Our Knesset holds a ceremony ‘Unto every person there is a name’ .It goes like this: (a quote from the Jerusalem Post)
“Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel and her daughters lit a candle in her mother’s name, and in memory of her relatives killed in the Jado concentration camp in Libya, where 2,600 Jews were sent, 562 of whom died. Gamliel’s great-grandfather, Shia Bracha, was sent to the camp from Tripoli, and was killed while trying to escape, and her grandparents lost a daughter from malnutrition in Jado.
“Modern Israel owes part of its establishment to the heroes who underwent the hell of the Holocaust and rose from it to fight for Israel’s independence, thus ensuring the continuation of future generations in Israel,” Gamliel said. “The recognition in recent years of Holocaust survivors and victims of the Nazi regime in Arab countries is for me, as the daughter of a Holocaust survivor from Libya, is the closing of a circle and does justice to a large group in Israel that did not receive the recognition it deserves.”
Others who lit candles were Holocaust survivors Esther Meron, Avraham Ivanir, Fruma Galant, mother of Housing and Construction Minister Yoav Galant, and Svetlana Sorokin, mother of MK Ksenia Svetlova (Zionist Union), as well as Company for Location and Restitution of Holocaust Victims’ Assets Director-General Dr. Yisrael Peleg.
Next, MK Yaakov Margi (Shas) read from Psalms, Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yaakov Yosef said Kaddish and an IDF cantor chanted the El Maleh Rachamim prayer.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein began the name-reading by reading the names of children who perished in the Sharogorod Ghetto in Transnistria, where his grandparents and mother survived the Holocaust.
President Reuven Rivlin read the names of soldiers killed in the War of Independence who were the last surviving members of their families, as well as the names of their relatives who were murdered by the Nazis. His wife, Nechama Rivlin, read names of relatives, and had to stop in the middle to compose herself, as she was crying.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu kept his annual tradition of reading a poem his father-in-law, Shmuel Ben-Artzi, wrote in 1941 in Israel, when he lost touch with his family in Europe and did not know what happened to them. They all perished in the Holocaust.
Supreme Court President Miriam Naor said she and her cousins did research to find out names and details about relatives who were killed in the Holocaust…” AND SO ON IT GOES.
‘Poignant’…’emotional’…’indescribable’…these are the words that come to me as I seek to, yes, describe the day that I have sought to describe for 21 years now.At 10:00am the eerie wail of the siren sounded throughout the country for two minutes while a nation stood silent and at attention, agreeing to share a mantle of grief far too heavy to be borne alone on the shoulders…fewer and fewer…of tattooed old people.For one day in the year they open the coffin of a closet where the dark memories lie hidden and share the unimaginable openly, in schools, on television and in ceremonies or homes, so that we can all carry it together with them.We listen to their stories…sit and have tea with them…weep with them…hug them.The stories are collected…written…dramatized…’They must never forget!’ they cry.‘The world must never never forget!’ they yell collectively…but their voices grow ever weaker.It has been 70 years now since the Holocaust.Many of them have lived this long because they have a burning passion to ‘Having survived…survive!’…but they are dying because they are, after all, just flesh and blood.
A new and hopeful thing has cropped up.It is called ‘Zikeron b’salon’ or literally ‘Memory in the livingroom’.I was listening to a report about it and they said that several years ago some young people were speaking of a need that they had to find further expression concerning the Holocaust.Children here learn about it in school from pre-school…and the studies continue through the army and university.During the last year in high school they participate in ‘The March of the Living’…a trip to Auschwitz death camp.Suddenly they are post army and university and it all comes to an end.A small group of young adults decided to ‘meet in the livingroom’, hear a testimony in person or on a tape, and to hold their own discussion and ceremony.It caught on with young people all over the country and this year there were hundreds of such meetings.
Yes, it is taken ‘personally’.Life from the dead…hope from ashes.
Last week one of our patients died.Ada Steinberg was 96 and lived with a ‘helper’.Originally from Russia, she had never married, made aliyah alone as a teenager, became a professor and had many friends…but she outlived them all!That was a chilling thought to me when she told me that her last friend died.She was now ‘all alone’…but she went on and became very close to her ‘helper’.She died quietly in her sleep last week and I asked my boss…who would ‘sit shiva’ for her (mourn her in the Jewish tradition).He stopped and said ‘I don’t know.’ That wasn’t like my boss.He knows ALL of these things!‘Was she in the shoah?’ I asked him.To my surprise, he didn’t know that either.It took me quite awhile searching online to find anything about her but finally, on the Yad V’Shem website, (take a look) www.yadvashem.org/amongst the recorded testimonies, I found hers.It is in Hebrew and so it will take me awhile to listen, but I intend to.She had a name.She was brave.
I was raised with the Holocaust.Today I found myself wondering how it had ‘colored’ my world.I guess I will never know really.I was very very small, perhaps two, when I first became ‘aware’ (yes, really) of the Holocaust.I had very thick curly dark hair and I was with my Mother.It was summer.I remember the dress that I was wearing.A woman stopped to talk to my mother and she reached out and put her fingers in my hair and began running them through lovingly, but even then at that young age I knew ‘something wasn’t right.’I remember her getting down on her knees and looking at me and saying over and over ‘I had a little girl like you once, yes, I had a little girl just like you…’.My Mother sheltered me behind herself and I was holding on to her knees (that is how I guess my age…knee high).But that was only my first encounter.Holocaust survivors began pouring into our neighborhood in NY, USA…and there was a ‘scary feeling’ about them…something of death held on to them and it haunted me.In our apartment there were books and photos of the newly liberated camps.I would lay on the floor and look at the pictures…and wonder.
My conclusion then was: ‘We must be such an awful people to be so deeply hated.’
HOW THANKFUL I AM THAT THE ONE WHO WAS DISPISED AND REJECTED PURSUED ME AND SAVED ME OUT OF THE HELL THAT I FOUND MYSELF TRAPPED IN!
So I stood outside of work at 10:00am this morning when the siren pierced the air and prayed for Kala Zeltzer, Yaakov and Ruth Lork and the other survivors that I know by name…for them to be comforted face to Face by The One Who is truly able to understand and bare even their grief…and lead them safely home.
It is late and this is nothing like I intended to share…but it just got too late.I couldn’t let the day slip by without baring witness to it…least we forget.
I hope to write more in a couple of days.God bless you all.Lovingly, your sister here.
Do your problems seem insurmountable? Does it seem like you have a mountain of debt? You’re all alone? Nothing’s going right? Nothing will ever work out in your favor? Then I have a word for you!
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. 2 He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
The Lord has given me a word to share with all who are feeling depressed, overwhelmed, lonely, hurt, grieving and angry. This is a word for those who have given up. It’s a word for those whose problems have become impossible. Let those who have an ear, hear what the Spirit says.
The God I serve is holy and just. He is not a God who can’t hear. The answer to your problems is closer than you think…
11 “This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you, and it is not beyond your reach.12 It is not kept in heaven, so distant that you must ask, ‘Who will go up to heaven and bring it down so we can hear it and obey?’13 It is not kept beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear it and obey?’14 No, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it.
For just as Peter lost his focus when he walked on water, so you have lost perspective with your problems. The winds that night were fierce, stirring the waves up into a terrible froth, as their caps battered the boat the disciples were in. Yet, when Peter saw Jesus walking on water toward him, he forgot all about the violence of the winds and the waves. He only had eyes for His Lord and Savior, who was calmly walking on top of the raging sea, coming to them…
28 Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”29 And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
Think about it. The storm was impossible. The waves were high as they crashed into the boat, and the wind blew against them, battering their bodies and the boat. And while the wind blew the stinging needles of the salt water against their skin and their faces, Peter noticed none of it when he saw Jesus walking to them on the water. Indeed the wind and the waves were nothing to him in that instant, as he shouted across the water to Jesus.
28 Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”
Then, when Jesus told him to “Come,” Peter leaped out of the boat, and immediately walked on the water towards his beloved Savior. You see, in that moment, his focus was sharp, and his perspective was clear. For nothing is impossible with God. Peter knew that, perhaps better than anyone else, for he did what no man has before or since he and the Savior walked on water. Indeed, he was really doing it, until, for some reason, he took his eyes off of Jesus, and looked around, noticing, for perhaps the first time, since he had started his great adventure, that the wind and the waves were really whipping against him.
30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Can I tell you something, beloved? The wind didn’t just suddenly start in that instant, when Peter first noticed it. It had been blowing all along. The other disciples were already aware of this, and they were scared, which is why none of them cried out to Jesus to command them to come. Yet, though the wind was beating against him, Peter took no note of it, as long as he was focused on Jesus. Beloved reader, have you been like the rest of the disciples, focusing on the wind and the waves? Or are you like Peter, focusing on Christ instead?
We are all human, and sometimes our problems seem to loom so largely against us, yet, it is in these most difficult times that we must look away from the problem, and look to Jesus, the answer to all of our problems. Let’s look at the seraphim, who circle the throne of God day in and day out, 24/7…
It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of His robe filled the Temple.2 Attending Him were mighty seraphim, each having six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew.3 They were calling out to each other,
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies! The whole earth is filled with His glory!”
4 Their voices shook the Temple to its foundations, and the entire building was filled with smoke.
These seraphim continuously cry out, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies! The whole earth is filled with His glory!” What leads them to cry out like this continuously? They never stop calling out to one another about God’s holiness, no matter what else goes on at the throne of God…
6 One day the members of the heavenly court came to present themselves before the Lord, and the Accuser, Satan, came with them.7 “Where have you come from?” the Lord asked Satan.
Satan answered the Lord, “I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that’s going on.”
8 Then the Lord asked Satan, “Have you noticed My servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil.”
9 Satan replied to the Lord, “Yes, but Job has good reason to fear God.10 You have always put a wall of protection around him and his home and his property. You have made him prosper in everything he does. Look how rich he is!11 But reach out and take away everything he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!”
12 “All right, you may test him,” the Lord said to Satan. “Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don’t harm him physically.” So Satan left the Lord’s presence.
Now, we all know that Satan is the devil himself. We know that he’s a liar, and the father of lies. We know that he comes to steal from us, to kill us and destroy us. We know that it is this terrible beast, who is behind all of mankind’s troubles. We know that this old serpent lied to our forefathers, and deceived them into giving up their dominion over the earth. We know that he has led many men to do horrible things to one another. We also know that at one time, he was a big deal in heaven, until he rebelled against God, and led 1/3 of heaven’s angels in the rebellion against the Almighty. We also know that Satan is constantly appearing before God’s throne, accusing us day and night…
… For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth— the one who accuses them before our God day and night.
So, what do we do about it? Let’s look and see how the seraphim, those creatures who encircle God’s throne respond, when our accuser appears before the throne…
6 In front of the throne was a shiny sea of glass, sparkling like crystal.
In the center and around the throne were four living beings, each covered with eyes, front and back.7 The first of these living beings was like a lion; the second was like an ox; the third had a human face; and the fourth was like an eagle in flight.8 Each of these living beings had six wings, and their wings were covered all over with eyes, inside and out. Day after day and night after night they keep on saying,
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty— the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come.”
Day after day, and night after night, the keep saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty…” When their enemy and ours approach God’s throne, they don’t even notice him, though they have numerous eyes, because to them, he is nothing in the light of God, and all of their eyes are fixed on Him alone. And beloved, it isn’t just the seraphim that have things in perspective. The 24 elders do as well…
9 Whenever the living beings give glory and honor and thanks to the one sitting on the throne (the one who lives forever and ever),10 the twenty-four elders fall down and worship the one sitting on the throne (the one who lives forever and ever). And they lay their crowns before the throne and say,
11 “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For You created all things, and they exist because You created what You pleased.”
Beloved, I know we are at war. I know how the enemy is trying to tear you down, because his demons have been tormenting me as well, with pain, fear, poverty and depression, but the time has come for us to stand. We must remember that we are not alone in this battle, no matter how lonely we are.
6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honor.7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.
8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.9 Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.
10 In His kindness God called you to share in His eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation.11 All power to Him forever! Amen.
Beloved, humble yourself under the mighty hand of God. Cast all your cares on Him, because He cares for you!!! Beloved, the word of the Lord for all of us is to refocus. We must stop focusing on our insurmountable problems, (for with God, all things are possible, even those things we think are impossible…) and look to Christ.
Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all His glory.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Finally, beloved brothers and sisters, as we stop focusing on our impossible problems, and gaze upon the author and finisher of our faith, it is important to remember how we overcome the accuser of the brethren, the enemy of our soul…
10 Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens,
“It has come at last— salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth— the one who accuses them before our God day and night. 11 And they have defeated him by the blood of theLamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.
Today is the day that millions of Christians around the world celebrate Christ’s resurrection. After suffering, bleeding, and dying for the sins of mankind, Christ descended into hell, to preach to those men and women who died in the great flood.
18 Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but He died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but He was raised to life in the Spirit.
19 So He went and preached to the spirits in prison—20 those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood.
What a wonderful reason to celebrate! Jesus suffered and died for our sins (yours and mine) once, for all time, in order to bring us safely home to God. He suffered a physical death, and then He was raised to life in the Spirit. And because His love for mankind extended even to those who were dead, He even went and preached to those spirits who were in prison, every single man, woman and child, who had died in the great flood. The scriptures don’t say what came of that, and I’m not going to even venture a guess. All that I can say for sure, is that those lost souls were blessed to hear the Good News of the Gospel of Christ.
Now, you may be wondering what any of that has to do with us, and rightfully so. You see, even though this is the day we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior, I can’t help but think about the many people who are teetering on the edge of a great precipice. For, although many faithfully attend church on Easter Sunday, dressed in their beautiful new springtime fashions, and many claim to be children of God, how many truly do know Him? And does church attendance have anything to do with it?
The fact is that for many years, I went to church, took my children to Sunday School, was a fairly nice person, and whenever anyone asked about my religion, I said I was a Methodist or a Christian, even though I really had no relationship with Jesus. I did my best to teach my children right from wrong, and I went to church, because I thought it was good for my children. I didn’t go because I needed to go to church. I had no idea that I, like many of you today, was teetering on the edge of a steep cliff, ready to fall into the deep abyss of hell, below.
Beloved reader, do you know that it’s not enough to say you’re a Christian, if you don’t have a relationship with Jesus? It’s not enough to go to church every Sunday, or only on the special Sundays, if you have never asked Jesus to forgive your sins. Beloved, it isn’t enough to be a good person, because the fact is, that no one is good enough to be a child of God.
10 As the Scriptures say,
“No one is righteous— not even one. 11 No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. 12 All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.”
Think about it, beloved reader. What would have been the point of Jesus suffering and dying for the sins of mankind, if we were already good enough to get to heaven without Him? If that was the case, He could have stayed in heaven, and we could have worked our way there. But that wasn’t the case, because as the scriptures clearly say, there wasn’t even one person who was good enough.
Therefore, knowing that none of us could come to the Father on our own, Jesus made the way open to people like you and me. He knew that based on our own merit, each and every one of us was condemned to death…
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Beloved, there is only one way to reach the Father, and that way is through Jesus Christ, His One and only Son. You see, long ago, before the foundation of the world, God, through Christ, made this way for mankind. Now, how is that for love? Before He made us in His own image, He knew we would sin and rebel against Him, and He could have just changed His mind and said, “Forget it. They’re too much trouble,” but He didn’t. Instead, He made a way for us, the Only way.
6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.
4 Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes.5 God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.6 So we praise God for the glorious grace He has poured out on us who belong to His dear Son.7 He is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins.
You see, beloved, God doesn’t care about your pretty new Easter outfit, or your new Easter bonnet. He cares about you. More specifically, He cares about your heart. Whom, or What do you love best? For that is your real God. Do you love Jesus? Or do you love family, friends, power or money more? Beloved, it isn’t what we call ourselves that makes us a Christian or not. WHO or WHAT we have placed first in our hearts that really matters.
Let me just briefly share with you the depths of God’s love for you…
16 For this is how God loved the world: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.
9 Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Beloved, God has made the way of salvation very clear, and contrary to what many believe, there is NO other way. Therefore, if you are teetering on the edge, I beg you to cry out to Jesus! For if you teeter on the edge for too long, you may find that it’s too late.
If you were to put a price on yourself, what would you say you’re worth? Would you say you are worthy of all the love, joy and peace that every human longs for? Or would you say you’re worthless? How do you value yourself? Is your value based on what others say about you? Or is it based on what you think of yourself? Do you think more highly of yourself than you should? Or do you devalue yourself? How should we value ourselves?
It makes sense to look to the One who created us. He alone knows why He made us, and what we were made for. How does God, our Creator value us? In order to understand how God values us, it is important to know what our purpose is. What were we created for?
Bring all who claim Me as their God,for I have made them for My glory.It was I who created them.
We were created for God’s glory. Think about that. We weren’t created to be garbage thrown in a rubbish heap. We weren’t created to be nothing or no one. We were created for God’s glory. Do you know what that means?
It means that everyone who is reading this post right now, and struggling with his/her self-worth, must now realize that you were created for a great purpose. Dictionary.com definesglorythis way:
very great praise, honor, or distinction bestowed by common consent; renown: to win glory on the field of battle.
something that is a source of honor, fame, or admiration; a distinguished ornament or an object of pride: a sonnet that is one of the glories of English poetry.
adoring praise or worshipful thanksgiving: Give glory to God.
resplendent beauty or magnificence: the glory of autumn.
a state of splendor, magnificence, or prosperity.
a state of absolute happiness, gratification, contentment, etc.: She was in her glory when her horse won the Derby.
the splendor and bliss of heaven; heaven.
This is life-changing. If everyone, who calls themselves a child of God, could see themselves through His eyes, it could change the world. When I see that I was created to bring the glory to God that is due Him, it changes me. No longer am I content to remain stagnant, for I was created to give glory to God Almighty, my Creator, and the Creator of the universe.
I can no longer view myself as stupid or worthless, (things that others have said about me), because God created me to bring glory to Him, and how can something with no worth glorify God? Furthermore, how can something stupid accomplish the goal that God has set forth for him/her to accomplish?
What else does God say about our worth? Let’s begin at the beginning…
26 Then God said, “Let Us make human beings in Our image, to be like Us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”
27 So God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.
Beloved reader, you need to understand this, not only with your mind, but with your heart and soul as well. I don’t care if you were born with all of your limbs, some of your limbs, or none of your limbs. It matters not whether you’re as smart as someone else, or whether you’re a slow learner. It doesn’t matter if you like what you see when you look in the mirror, or if you don’t like it. None of these things matter, because YOU were created in the image of God. Do you understand this? YOU were created to give God glory, and He created YOU in His image. Therefore, when you look in the mirror, and hate what you see, you are not just hating yourself, you are hating the Creator who made YOU in HIS image. You not only see yourself as worthless, but you see your Creator as worthless, because YOUlook like HIM!
What else does your Creator say about your worth???
13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. 15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. 16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
17 How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! 18 I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, You are still with me!
Let’s really take the time to examine this passage, because it really shows our value in God’s eyes. In verse 13, we read that God made all of the delicate, inward parts of our bodies. He made the parts we can see, and the parts that can’t be seen. He made the parts we like, and He made the parts that sometimes bring us shame. He made every single delicate inward part of our bodies, and He labored over them too.
For those who have ever knitted anything, or tried to knit, you know that it is a labor intensive skill. In order to execute it properly, the one who is knitting must pay careful attention to each stitch, because just one slipped or missed stitch can ruin the entire piece. Not only must careful attention be paid, but the knitter must also possess a high degree of skill, for the project to turn out properly. Knitting is not something to be rushed through. It takes time, patience, and skill. Therefore, when you realize that God carefully knit you together in your mother’s womb, you realize that He was taking special care during the nine months that you were being created in your mother’s womb.
14 Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
Just look at this! God wasn’t just making some simple little sweater, when He created you. He was creating a wonderfully complex being, unlike any other that He had created before. He was creating the unique individual that is you, and His workmanship on you (and me too) was marvelous! Go ahead. Look in that mirror again, and take a really good look at the wonderfully marvelous person that God created to bring Him glory.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. 16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
Let this thought fill you. While you were being created in utter seclusion, God was watching over you. He saw you before you were born, and you were so precious to Him, that He wrote a book about YOU. He wrote about every single moment that would happen in your life, including this moment, right now, as you read these words. He didn’t just dictate what your life would be like. He wrote this book about you, because He knew you, and He knew the things you would go through, and the choices (both the good and the bad) you would make. He wrote this book, because you were so important, so valuable to Him, that your life was worth writing about.
17 How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! 18 I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, You are still with me!
Understand this, beloved reader. God thinks about you – alot! In fact, He thinks of you so much, that His thoughts of you cannot be numbered, and each one of those thoughts are precious! In order for you to truly understand how important this is, let’s see how dictionary.com definesprecious…
of high price or great value; very valuable or costly: precious metals.
highly esteemed for some spiritual, nonmaterial, or moral quality: precious memories.
dear; beloved: a precious child.
Beloved reader, God’s thoughts of you are precious, because you are of great value to Him. You are His precious child, created for His glory. Indeed, His love for you is so great, that He willingly sent His only Son to pay the penalty for your sins (and mine!). It was for you (and me too!) that Jesus willingly suffered, bled and died, so that we wouldn’t have to. Jesus went to death, hell and the grave, and on the third day, He arose from the grave, so that you and I could live eternally. And though it is appointed once for a man to die, judgment follows, and those who are called children of God, the ones whom He created for His glory, will arise to everlasting life…
Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.
I am a woman who is truly blessed. I don’t have a lot of friends, but the friends I do have are wonderful, and would do anything for me, and I would do anything for them too. My husband of 35 years has been my best friend, and rock, through many trials in my life. Frankly, I don’t know how I could have gotten through many of those trials, if it hadn’t been for him.
Yet, much as I love my husband, when I read the prompt, “friend,” the One that I thought of was Jesus. Jesus knew me before I was born.
4 Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes.
When I think about that, it blows my mind. I don’t know you, but I do know me, and if I’m going to be totally honest with you, I was not born holy and without fault. In my life, I’ve lied and cheated, cursed God and others, and murdered those whom I hated in my heart. Yet, in spite of this, Jesus chose me!
16 You didn’t choose Me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using My name.
15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, 16 for through Him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through Him and for Him...
… 21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were His enemies, separated from Him by your evil thoughts and actions.22 Yet now He has reconciled you to Himself through the death of Christ in His physical body. As a result, He has brought you into His own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before Him without a single fault.
Imagine that! I was an enemy of Christ, yet He chose me! Then, through His death and resurrection, He changed me and brought me into His presence and presented me holy and blameless, without a single fault to His Father. How amazing!
Yet, as wonderful, merciful and kind as all of this was, it wasn’t enough for my Savior. I would have been happy to be His servant all the days of my life, but Jesus had a better plan…
9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved Me. Remain in My love.10 When you obey My commandments, you remain in My love, just as I obey My Father’s commandments and remain in His love.11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with My joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!12 This is My commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.14 You are My friends if you do what I command.15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in His slaves. Now you are My friends, since I have told you everything the Father told Me.16 You didn’t choose Me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using My name.17 This is My command: Love each other.
This scripture passage explains the relationship I have with my best Friend, Jesus. The first sentence sums up His feelings for me, when He says, “I have loved you even as the Father has loved Me.” Jesus is the One and only Son of God, the Father, and here, He states unequivocally, that He loves me (and all of His disciples), the same way His Father loves Him.
As a woman, I can’t say that I know for certain how a father loves his son. However, I would imagine that a father’s love for his son would certainly be as strong as a mother’s love for her son, and as a mother, I have a fierce love for my children. I would go to war to protect my children from harm, and when I think of the love God has for His Son, I know that it must be stronger than you and I could ever imagine. Therefore, when Jesus said, “I have loved you even as the Father has loved Me,” He was speaking as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. He was speaking of a strong and passionate love, that we cannot, in the frailty of our human emotions and thoughts, even begin to conceive.
Jesus then ordered His disciples (all who love Him and follow Him), to remain in His love. The Greek word for “remain” in this passage is menō, which means:
to remain, abide
in reference to place
to sojourn, tarry
not to depart
to continue to be present
to be held, kept, continually
in reference to time
to continue to be, not to perish, to last, endure
of persons, to survive, live
in reference to state or condition
to remain as one, not to become another or different
to wait for, await one
When we examine the Greek meaning for this word, we get a clear understanding of what Jesus meant when He ordered His disciples (those of us who follow Him too!) to remain in His love. He was saying, “Stay here in My love. Don’t depart from My love. Tarry (wait) in My love. Continually be present, here in My love. Endure, survive, live in My love. Remain as you are now, in My love. Wait, here in My love for Me.”
He was essentially saying that He wants us to remain in His love, just as He remains in His Father’s love. In other words, He wasn’t asking us to do anything more than He did, by remaining in His Fathers love. Honestly, I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be, than in the midst of His love.
So, how does one go about remaining in Jesus’ love? He makes this abundantly clear to us…
10 When you obey My commandments, you remain in My love, just as I obey My Father’s commandments and remain in His love.
The way to remain in Christ’s love is to obey Him. Obedience isn’t a very popular concept in today’s culture. Indeed, most people prefer to live in total rebellion to God’s word. Yet Jesus says that if we obey His commandments, we remain in His love, as He obeys His Father’s commands and remains in His love. Many people look at obedience as drudgery, but Jesus’ outlook on obedience was entirely different…
11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with My joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!
He wants us to be filled with His joy, so He tells us to obey Him and remain in His love, so that our joy will overflow! So, what exactly are we supposed to obey, in order to be filled with this overflowing joy???
12 This is My commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Jesus’ commandment is a very simple one. We are commanded to love each other, the same way He has loved us, stating that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. We are afforded the hindsight to understand that Jesus spoke these words to His disciples on the night before He was crucified. They had no way of knowing, as we do, that Jesus was getting ready to demonstrate His great love for His beloved friends, (which includes every disciple then and since then), by laying down His own life, for all of mankind…
Then, He finishes this discourse by telling His disciples how much they (and we) meant to Him…
14 You are My friends if you do what I command.15 I no longer call you slaves, because a Master doesn’t confide in His slaves. Now you are My friends, since I have told you everything the Father told Me.16 You didn’t choose Me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using My name.17 This is My command: Love each other.
If I remain in Christ’s love, by loving my fellow disciples, then I am no longer merely His servant. When I am obedient to His command to love one another, I have become a friend of Jesus Christ, Messiah, the Anointed One, the King of kings and Lord of lords.
It is as I remain in the love of my best Friend, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, that I am able to love others, as He loved me. It is because of His great love, (He calls me His friend!), that I am filled to overflowing with unending joy. How thankful I am to have the Friend, who sticks closer than a brother.
We are currently living in a time, when many of the values that we hold dear in our hearts, are being turned upside down, and those of us, who call ourselves Christians, are expected to accept these changes silently. If we don’t, we run the risk of being labeled “intolerant,” “homophobes,” “bigots,” “haters,” or worse. So, we’re left with a question, “Do we strive and fight against these changes that seem to be inevitable, no matter what we do? Or do we meekly accept the changes that grieve our very souls, in order to keep the peace?”
I’ve thought and prayed long and hard about these things, and, no matter what the world thinks of me, in the end, I have to be true, not to myself, but to the God and Creator of the universe, the One whom I serve, and love with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength. When I am at the end of life, here on earth, as we know it now, and I meet with my Father, face to face, I want to be able to look at Him and say, the same words that the Apostle Paul said at the end of his life…
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.
So, what things are worth fighting for? Certainly the lives of those, who are unable to care for or defend themselves, specifically unborn children. Although, those who have been pro-choice have tried, for years, to claim that life begins only after a baby is born and takes his/her first breath, ultrasound and many other tests that are done routinely, prove otherwise.
Those of us who are pro-life, know that the instant the sperm fertilizes the egg, life begins, because in order to grow, something must be alive. We know this from a physical standpoint, when at 12 weeks, we are first able to hear the heartbeat of that unborn baby, and we know this from a spiritual standpoint, because scripture tells us of this fact…
13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. 15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. 16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
According to the word of God, we live before we are even born, because He already knows us, even then. Now, whether someone shares my spiritual beliefs or not, is beside the point, because I believe this with all my heart, and because I believe this, I must fight for the life of every unborn child. An unborn baby is not merely a parasite, he/she is a living human. Therefore, according to the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Regardless of whether you agree with me or not, the fact is, that abortion is the murder of an unborn baby. Whenever someone snuffs out the life of the unborn child, you are stealing the very rights that every man, woman and child has been endowed with. With every life that has been taken by means of abortion, you are taking the place of their Creator, and saying that their life is not as important as the mother’s life. With each abortion, that is performed in this country that guarantees these rights, the child is denied the right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
These are the very things our forefathers believed were worth fighting for. Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness are God-given rights (They are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…), NOT man-made rights. Therefore, mankind DOES NOT have the right to take away someone else’s rights, whether those of grown men and women, those of little children and infants, or those of babies, who have yet to draw their first breath, while they grow in the safety of their mothers’ wombs.
As a follower of Christ, I must fight the good fight for these precious children, who are unable to speak for themselves… Jesus made His love for children very clear, and He also made it clear that those who harm children have a heavy price to pay…
About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”
2 Jesus called a little child to Him and put the child among them.3 Then He said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.4 So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.
5 “And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on My behalf is welcoming Me.6 But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in Me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.
Beloved readers, when I think of the millions of abortions that have been performed in the United States, since Roe vs. Wade in 1973, my heart breaks, because for every single one of those millions of unborn babies who was not welcomed into this world, millions of mothers, fathers, nurses and doctors were not only denying the children their right to live, they were also telling Jesus that He was not welcome in their lives either.
So we come back to the word fight. Are there things worth fighting for? Absolutely. It is certainly worth fighting for the life of every unborn child, who has yet to draw his/her first breath. Is there anything worth fighting against? Again, the answer is absolutely. Until we draw our final breath, we must fight against evil, no matter what form it takes.
We must fight against the evil of racism, whether it comes in the form of white men hating black, hispanics or other ethnic groups, or whether black men hate white men. For, no matter what form it comes in, racism is ugly, and those who hate others because of their skin tone, also hate the God and Creator, who created ALL MANKIND in His image.
We must fight against the evil of sin, in every form, because it, like cancer, kills. Until we draw our last breath, we must fight against hatred, bitterness, cruelty, and anger.
We must fight against anything that is detrimental to the family, as God created it to be. For, in order to truly create a family, there needs to be a father (a man), and a mother (a woman). Since the beginning of time, this has been the only way for a child to be conceived. Without a man’s sperm, and the woman’s egg joining, mankind will cease to exist, and the fact remains that no matter how man has tried to alter this fact, both a man’s sperm, and a woman’s egg are still required to create life, and it will always be this way, no matter how man may try to alter or procreate in other ways.
Perhaps many of you are now calling me intolerant, because I say that homosexuality and lesbianism are abhorrent to creation, because no matter what attempts they may make to change this, it cannot be done. Lesbian women still need man’s sperm cells in order to procreate, and homosexual men still need women’s eggs and their uterus, in order for procreation to occur. I didn’t design it this way, God our Creator did. In fact, the Apostle Paul felt that homosexuality was a battle worth fighting over, more than 2 thousand years ago…
24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies.25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator Himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other.27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.
28 Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, He abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done.29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip.30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents.31 They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy.32 They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.
Now, more than 2 thousand years later, this is still a fight worth fighting. Numerous children are being led astray by the lies the homosexual community spouts as they try to convince the public that homosexuality and lesbianism are normal, and should be accepted by all. Yet, the fact remains that this lifestyle is not, nor has it ever been normal or right. Those who choose to maintain this lifestyle choice do so, in rebellion to God, our Creator.
I’m sure that there are some, who are very angry and offended by what I have written here, but I don’t write these words to stir up strife. Let me be very clear to all who question my motives, I do not hate homosexuals and lesbians. Indeed, I love them, for they are men and women, just like those of us who do not participate in that lifestyle.
My children have done many things that I didn’t like, when they were growing up. Indeed, the truth is, that I hated some of the things they did, but I never once hated my children. I never once stopped loving them. The same holds true with those who call themselves gay. Although I hate the homosexual acts they commit, and though I abhor many of the things they say, I don’t hate them.
Perhaps some of you reading, think me intolerant, and you’re absolutely correct. As I have stated all along, in this post, there are some things that are worth fighting for, and some things worth fighting against. Homosexuality, lesbianism, transgenderism, beastiality, pedophilia and other sexually deviant practices are sin against one’s own body, and against the bodies of others, and should not be tolerated, much less encouraged, under any circumstance, and while I have breath, I will speak out against such practices, and I will write against them, because such lifestyles are unhealthy and deadly.
More importantly, I fight against these things, regardless of the consequences, because these practices are against God’s will, and when I stand before my maker one day, I want to be able to say these words to my Lord and Savior:
6 As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near.7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.
What is envy? Dictionary.com defines envy this way:
Envy – a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another’s advantages, success, possessions, etc.
Have you ever felt envy? I sure have, and I can tell you, envy is a horrible, sickening feeling that won’t allow you to rest or feel peace, because someone else has something that you feel they don’t deserve, or more accurately, someone else has something that you believe should be yours.
Beloved reader, believe me when I tell you that nothing good has ever come from envy. If you cultivate envy in your heart, you can be sure that bitterness will take root in your heart immediately, as you fixate your thoughts on why you, and not the other person should be the recipient of his/her bounty. It matters not whether it is material possessions or emotional or spiritual possessions that you envy and desire, because all envy leads to bitterness, and bitterness leads to anger, wrath, hatred, and murderous thoughts.
You see, I know all too well that this is the path envy takes, because for years, I was envious. And understand this, too, envy may begin with one lone instance and one lone person, but all too soon, it spreads to others as well. I can remember envying my sister for our parents’ love, and then it spread to others, friends, neighbors, enemies, etc. All too soon, I even envied people I didn’t personally know, because they had what I longed for and thought that I deserved.
There’s something else you need to know about envy. When you allow envy to blacken your heart, it also blackens your vision, and all too soon, you are unable to see the truth that is in front of you, because your blackened heart only sees that it has been wronged. When your heart is in this blinded envious state, you are unable to see that there are others who may offer you the very thing you long for (in my instance, it was love), therefore, you will ignore, overlook or even push away the very ones who truly do love you.
I remember being so envious of others, who were popular, and seemed to have it all, the love of their parents, good looks, riches, intelligence, etc., while I had nothing. I was so blinded and bitter from my envious thoughts, that I couldn’t recognize the truth from a lie. If someone claimed to love me, I was so sure they wanted something from me, and wanted to hurt me, that I doubted their love, and pushed them away.
16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.
It was crazy. I hated my parents for not loving me enough. I hated my sister, because I blamed her for taking all of my parents’ love away from me. I hated children at school, who seemed to be loved by teachers, other classmates, and their parents, while I believed that no one loved me. This crazy envy that had led to bitterness and hatred, also led me to do many other stupid things.
I began to lie, in order to win people over to me. Now, isn’t that the craziest thing ever? After all, no one loves a liar. Jesus even said this to men who had lied and deceived themselves and others (I would have been included in this also).
44 For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.
You see, in my bitterness and envy, I had also become a liar, and I was indeed a child of the devil, who was a liar and a murderer from the beginning, and had no truth within him. Please don’t think I’m exaggerating, because this is truly the course that envy leads us on. You see, envy led me on a murderous course, one that could only lead to judgment, condemnation, death and hell…
15 Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.
It wasn’t until I met and fell in love with Jesus, my Lord and Savior, that my eyes were opened to the truth about my petty little life. I had been living a life filled with envy, anger, malice, hatred, and murder, which had completely blinded me to the truth. You see, I even had the audacity to feel justified in my bitterness and envy, when the truth was, that I was just as guilty, and in many instances, even more so, than those who had sinned against me.
As Jesus began revealing these truths to me, through His Holy Spirit, I began to see that I was the one who needed to repent and to seek forgiveness from those I had sinned against, and the first one I needed forgiveness from was God, so I asked Him to forgive me in Jesus’ name.
The next one I needed forgiveness from was my sister. You see, the things I blamed her and envied her for, weren’t true. She didn’t steal my parents’ love from me. She couldn’t control the actions of the adults in our lives as a child, nor could she control our parents’ actions as an adult. She was a little girl, caught in the middle of what must have been a horrible situation for her too, but envy had blinded me to this truth. I am truly sorry for the envy, bitterness, hatred and malice I held against my sister for far too long, while at the same time, as crazy as it seems, I loved her like crazy. You see, I deluded myself into thinking that it was okay for me to be angry and bitter towards her, but it wasn’t okay for anyone else to hurt her.
It took the love of a merciful Savior, to show me that it was never okay for me to have anything, but love for my sister. And, do you want to know something amazing??? When I allowed Jesus to strip the envy from me, bitterness, hatred, malice and murder left my heart. In its place was pure, unconditional love for this sister whom I had envied for far too long.
We’ve never had a close relationship, and for that, I share some of the blame. Maybe, we’ll never have a close relationship, because the fact is we were never encouraged to cultivate one as children. Indeed, we were often pitted against each other as children and even as adults, but I can honestly say this. The envy I once felt for my sister is dead and gone, as is all bitterness against her. She will always be my baby sister, and I will always love her, even if it’s from afar.
Beloved reader, if your heart is filled with envy and bitterness against someone or against many, I urge you to relinquish that envy and bitterness, because it will only destroy your life, and you will miss out on all the love and joy that God has for you. Please ask for God’s forgiveness, and for the forgiveness of those your envy has harmed, then stand back, and wait for the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, to fall upon you. Finally, beloved reader, remember this:
12 Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love makes up for all offenses.