Tag Archives: Christianity and Religion

Blessings Beloved Readers – Ephesians 1:1-8

This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.

I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. ~ Ephesians 1:1-2  NLT ~

This bible study was written by Cheryl Showers, a minister of God, bible study teacher, church leader, and prison minister for many years. Most importantly, I am a bondservant to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Greetings to every person who reads this bible study. I pray that as you read and study God’s word, your love for Him will grow, as you see how wide and how long, how high and how deep His love for you is. I pray that the more you learn and read and study His word, the more you will hunger and thirst for still more.

I pray that the Lord will protect each one of you, and that as we continue to embark on this study of Ephesians together, He will give us His divine wisdom, so that we will not only understand Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, but we will also understand how it applies to our lives today. My prayer for each one of us is that we will not only gain head knowledge, but that we will also live out the rest of our lives according to God’s holy word, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

I love reading Paul’s many epistles, for many reasons. One of the reasons I love to read them is because of how Paul always begins his letters. In fact, as I read the opening in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, I was inspired to write a similar opening in this study to each of you who are reading and participating in this study.

In the opening of his letters, Paul almost always began by introducing himself, and his position in the church. He almost always stated his qualifications, possibly in an offensive move against false teachers, false prophets and imposters. Let’s look at a few of his letters to see…

This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach His Good News. ~ Romans 1:1  NLT ~


This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Sosthenes. ~ 1 Corinthians 1:1  NLT ~

This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy. 

I am writing to God’s church in Corinth and to all of His holy people throughout Greece. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:1  NLT ~

I especially love Paul’s introduction in Galatians. Before there could be any argument about whether he was fit to lead the church, or if it should be someone else, Paul set the record straight. He wasn’t writing to overstep his bounds. Yet Paul immediately establishes his right to send this epistle to the Galatians when he says…

This letter is from Paul, an apostle. I was not appointed by any group of people or any human authority, but by Jesus Christ Himself and by God the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead. ~ Galatians 1:1  NLT ~

Paul’s greetings were always warm and filled with love for the people he was writing to, and he almost always gave a blessing to the recipients. Let’s read Paul’s greeting and blessing in Ephesians…

This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.

I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace~ Ephesians 1:1-2  NLT ~

Ephesians 1-2

Look at how Paul addresses the Ephesians. He calls them “God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.” To address the Ephesians like that would have told them immediately that Paul held them in high esteem. Then, after letting them know how much he valued them, Paul asks that God the Father and Jesus would give the Ephesians grace and peace. Let’s look at Paul’s blessings in the greetings of some of his other epistles…

This letter is from Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus.

I am writing to all of God’s holy people in Philippi who belong to Christ Jesus, including the elders and deacons.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. ~ Philippians 1:1-3  NLT ~


This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy.

We are writing to God’s holy people in the city of Colosse, who are faithful brothers and sisters in Christ.

May God our Father give you grace and peace. ~ Colossians 1:1-2  NLT ~


This letter is from Paul, Silas, and Timothy.

We are writing to the church in Thessalonica, to you who belong to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

May God give you grace and peace. ~ 1 Thessalonians 1:1  NLT ~

Do you see the pattern here? In Paul’s day, there were no computers, so writing and mailing letters took much longer than it does today. The churches that Paul established loved and respected him. Therefore, they looked forward to hearing from him, either through a mutual friend, such as Timothy or someone else, and also in his letters.

The church was greatly persecuted in those days, as those who were a part of it, were well aware. Indeed, Paul had left Ephesus in quite a hurry, after ministering there for three years, due to a riotous crowd that wanted to capture him. After the mayor of the city defused the situation, Paul  called the believers together and encouraged them, before bidding them farewell.

After leaving the church in Ephesus, Paul went on to Macedonia to preach and teach. After his time in Macedonia, Paul planned to sail past Ephesus without stopping, so he could hopefully get to Jerusalem in time for the festival of Pentecost (Acts 20:16  NLT). Therefore, when he reached Miletus, which was near Ephesus, Paul sent for the elders, of the Ephesian church, to meet him before he continued on his way to Jerusalem.

Paul knew that the road ahead of him was a hard one, and that this would be the last time that he saw his friends, the Ephesians…

22 “And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me,23 except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead.24 But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God. ~ Acts 20:22-24  NLT ~


36 When he had finished speaking, he knelt and prayed with them. 37 They all cried as they embraced and kissed him good-bye. 38 They were sad most of all because he had said that they would never see him again. Then they escorted him down to the ship. ~ Acts 20:36-38  NLT ~

The Ephesian believers never did see Paul again, because Paul was indeed arrested, for his faith and service to Jesus, just as the Holy Spirit had said he would be. As a matter of fact, the next time the Ephesians heard from Paul,  after they departed, leaving Paul on the ship that night, was in this very Epistle to the Ephesians that we are studying now.

Just imagine how touching it was to get a letter from this apostle and spiritual father, who was no imprisoned for Christ, and instead of bemoaning his own situation, Paul chose to greet them and bless them, instead…

This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.

I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. ~ Ephesians 1:1-2  NLT ~

Praise God for this letter from the Apostle Paul, for it not only helped the Ephesians’ spiritual growth, it also helped countless others to draw closer to the Lord. Please join me next time, as we discover what the Lord wants us to know about spiritual blessings.

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Overview of Ephesians

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Road in Ephesus

Praise the Lord! Yesterday, I wrote an introduction to Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, and today, before we begin to really dig in to this message, we’re going to do an overview, of it and answer the five W’s about Ephesians. Therefore, let’s dig in and discover the answers to our questions.

Before we begin this overview of Ephesians, let’s ask our Father in heaven to open the eyes of our hearts…

Heavenly Father, thank You so much for leading us in this walk through Your word. I pray Lord, for each person who joins in this study of Ephesians, that You would open the eyes of our heart, and that as we begin to understand this message, our hearts  would hunger to know You better.

Lord, I pray that we would love You more, and that we will gain wisdom through Your word. I also pray that as our love for You increases, our love for mankind would increase as well, in Jesus’ name. Lord, reveal Yourself to us through Your holy word in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.

Before we get started on the overview, I encourage you to read the book of Ephesians. It really isn’t that long (just 6 chapters), and it will help you to answer the five W’s for yourself. Below are the links to each chapter…

Image Credit: Ephesus Theatre wanderingdanny.com
Image Credit:
Ephesus Theatre
wanderingdanny.com

The above links will take you to Bible Gateway, and if you sign in, you will discover that there are many study tools that you may use. While I’m reading, I like to highlight the verses that answer the five W’s in one color. Later, I may go back and highlight the key verse in each chapter, or sometimes, key words. You can always undo this, if you like, but I find this method of studying really helps me. Therefore, I urge you to click the links above, and keeping in mind the five W’s we learned in yesterday’s Introduction to Ephesians, highlight your answers to those questions as you go along…

  1. Who?  Paul wrote the Ephesians Epistle (epistle is a letter) to the Ephesian believers…
    1. Who wrote the book/letter?
      1. This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus. ~ Ephesians 1:1a  NLT ~
      2. When I think of all this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the benefit of you Gentiles. . . ~ Ephesians 3:1  NLT ~
      3. Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. ~ Ephesians 4:1  NLT ~
    2. To Whom was the book/letter written?
      1. I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus. ~ Ephesians 1:1b  NLT ~
      2. And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, He identified you as His own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom He promised long ago. ~ Ephesians 1: 13  NLT ~
      3. Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. ~ Ephesians 2:11  NLT ~
      4. He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from Him, and peace to the Jews who were near. ~ Ephesians 2:17  NLT ~
      5. So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. ~ Ephesians 2:19  NLT ~
      6. Through Him you Gentiles are also being made part of this dwelling where God lives by His Spirit. ~ Ephesians 2:22  NLT ~
      7. When I think of all this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the benefit of you Gentiles. . . ~ Ephesians 3:1  NLT ~
      8. … assuming, by the way, that you know God gave me the special responsibility of extending His grace to you Gentiles. ~ Ephesians 3:2  NLT ~
      9. Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. ~ Ephesians 4:1  NLT ~
      10. Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children. ~ Ephesians 5:1  NLT ~
  2. WhatPaul wrote this letter to the Ephesians to both encourage the Ephesians, by reminding them that God chose them before the foundations of the earth were laid. He also wanted to encourage them to lead a life worthy of their calling. Also, by reinforcing how they were saved, and how they are to live as Christians, Paul also warns the Ephesian believers against false teachings, encouraging them to be ready to battle the enemy at all times…
    1. What did the author hope to accomplish by writing this book/letter?
      1. Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. ~ Ephesians 1:4  NLT ~
      2. Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. ~ Ephesians 4:1  NLT ~
      3. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. ~ Ephesians 6:12  NLT ~
  3. WhenPaul wrote this Epistle to the Ephesians between 60-62 A.D., while he was imprisoned in Rome.
    1. When was the book/letter written?
      1. When I think of all this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the benefit of you Gentiles. . . ~ Ephesians 3:1  NLT ~
      2. Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. ~ Ephesians 4:1  NLT ~
      3. I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for Him, as I should. ~ Ephesians 6:20  NLT ~
  4. Where
    1. Where was the book/letter sent? As we stated earlier, Paul wrote this letter to the Ephesian believers, where he had spent three years, establishing a church.
      1. This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus. I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus. ~ Ephesians 1:1  NLT ~
    2. Where was the book/letter written? As we’ve already established, Paul wrote this letter to the Ephesians from his Roman prison (Ephesians 3:1, 4:1 and 6:20). 
  5. Why?  The purpose is so all of God’s children will praise and glorify Him.
    1. Why did the author of the book/letter write it? 
      1. 12 God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. 13 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, He identified you as His own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom He promised long ago. 14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that He will give us the inheritance He promised and that He has purchased us to be His own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify Him.

This concludes the overview of Ephesians. We will begin studying Ephesians 1 in my next post, line by line and precept upon precept. I look forward to studying with you again soon! Meanwhile, please join me as we close this post with a prayer to the Almighty.

Father, thank You so much for sending Your word to us. I pray Lord, that You would speak to each person who reads and joins this study, and that we would be drawn ever closer to You. Holy Spirit, You are the great teacher, so please Lord, teach us, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Introduction of Ephesians

Ephesus Great Theater Where Rioters Accused Paul of Damaging Artemis
Ephesus Great Theater Where Rioters Accused Paul of Damaging Artemis

This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.

I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. ~ Ephesians 1:1-2  NLT ~

Before studying any one of the books of the Bible, it is important to answer the 5 W’s, which will help us to have a deeper understanding of what we are studying:

  1. Who
    1. Who wrote the book/letter?
    2. To Whom was the book/letter written?
  2. What?
    1. What did the author hope to accomplish by writing this book/letter?
  3. When?
    1. When was the book/letter written?
  4. Where?
    1. Where was the book/letter sent?
    2. Where was the book/letter written?
  5. Why?
    1. Why did the author of the book/letter write it?

We’re going to dig in and study the book of Ephesians, but before we begin the study, let’s pray together. I can’t begin to stress how important it is for us to talk to the Lord about His word, and to ask Him to give us understanding of His word. Therefore, I ask you to join your heart with mine, so that we can be of one mind and one accord. 

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word, which is better than life. Thank You for putting it in our hearts to study Your word, so that we can gain a deeper understanding of Your will for us, in Jesus’ name.

Lord, I ask You in Jesus’ name, to give us discernment of spirits, and that You would also help us to read and understand what You are saying to us through Your word. Lord, I pray that Your word would be like a mirror, reflecting our own sinfulness and also let it reflect how You have called us to live. Father, I pray that You would open the eyes of our hearts, so that we nay see You and hear Your voice. Show us Your ways, Father, so that we may walk with You, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

In this introduction of Ephesians, let’s begin the study by looking at Acts 19Acts 20, to get a little background. In the first verses  of Acts 19, we discover that when the Apostle Paul first arrived in Ephesus, the Ephesian believers (citizens of Ephesus) knew nothing about the Holy Spirit. They had received the baptism of John, which called for repentance from sin. Therefore, Paul told them about Jesus, and they were baptized in His name. Afterward, Paul laid hands on the Ephesians and they received the Holy Spirit. Then they began prophesying and speaking in tongues. There were about twelve of them in all. 

After ministering to those twelve men, Paul went to the synagogue, “and preached boldly for the next three months, arguing persuasively about the Kingdom of God.” Unfortunately, some stubborn Jews refused to believe Paul’s message, therefore, Paul left the synagogue, taking the believers with him, and he held daily discussions at the lecture hall of Tyrannus, for the next two years. According to the scriptures in this passage, Paul ministered in Ephesus for approximately three years, impacting many lives.

During the three years that Paul was in Ephesus, many miracles, signs and wonders occurred. In fact, after seeing the power of God in Paul, there were several people who tried to capitalize on that power. There was a priest named Sceva, who had seven sons, and when they attempted to cast the evil spirit out of one man, it backfired in a way they never imagined…

14 Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this. 15 But one time when they tried it, the evil spirit replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?” 16 Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them, and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and battered. ~Acts 19:14-16  NLT ~

After this incident, the fear of the Lord swept through Ephesus, and many gave their hearts and lives to Jesus. However, there were still others, who were not happy with the changes taking place in their city. One man in particular, a businessman named Demetrius, who had a large manufacturing business, making silver shrines of Artemis, Apollo’s twin and the daughter of Zeus, began stirring things up. Artemis was the goddess of the hunt and childbirth, among other things. After some former sorcerers, who converted to Christianity, burned their books of incantations (valued at several million dollars),  Demetrius claimed Paul’s ministry would cause people to turn away from Artemis, not only angering the goddess of this city, but also causing those businesses, who made shrines and  idols of Artemis, to lose business, and also causing Artemis to lose her prestige, thus stirring up a violent riot, until finally, the mayor of Ephesus was able to deactivate the riot and calm the angry rioters.

After the riot, Paul summoned the believers, encouraging them, before he departed. Paul  didn’t return to Ephesus again, however, that doesn’t mean that he just forgot them. Instead, when Paul was making his way to Jerusalem, for the Passover, sometime later, he sent for the elders of Ephesus, when he stopped at Myletus. When they came to him, Paul again shared the gospel with them, telling them that he would never see them again. Then he warned them against false teachers and false prophets…

31 “Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you—my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you.” ~ Acts 20:31  NLT ~

36 When he had finished speaking, he knelt and prayed with them. 37 They all cried as they embraced and kissed him good-bye. 38 They were sad most of all because he had said that they would never see him again. Then they escorted him down to the ship. ~ Acts 20:36-38  NLT ~

Praise the Lord! Please take the time to read Acts 19 and Acts 20 for yourself, so you can get a feel for what Ephesus was like when Paul came to them, and what it was like when he left. It’s always good to know the background about anything you’re going to study. We’ll begin looking for answers to the five W’s in the next part of this study of Ephesians, and after that, we’ll begin to study Paul’s letter to the Ephesians line by line and precept upon precept. Until then, beloved readers, God bless you!

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

A Day in the Life…

12 Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. ~ Matthew 24:12 NLT ~

I watched the news Friday night, and as I watched, I wept. Since then, I haven’t been able to get the news out of my mind or my heart. An old Beatles song came to mind as well, and I just couldn’t shake it, so take a listen to the song, before you read on or listen while you read.

Corporal Nathan Cirillo
Corporal Nathan Cirillo

Please bear with me as I share what I saw and heard on Friday night, that caused me to weep… On Friday, Corporal Nathan Cirillo, the twenty-four year old soldier who was needlessly slain Wednesday, was taken home, to be laid to rest. He was driven home along the Highway of Heroes, while hundreds of Canadians gathered to pay tribute to him, as he made his way to his home and final resting place.

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau
Michael Zehaf-Bibeau

On Wednesday, after ruthlessly shooting Corporal Cirillo, his assassin, thirty-two year old, Islamic convert, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, then charged through Canada’s parliament, before being fatally shot by Sargeant-at-Arms, Kevin Vickers. Not only did an innocent young man lose his life, but also, his assassin, their lives cut terribly short.

The following day, when parliament reconvened, Sargeant-at-Arms, Kevin Vickers, was hailed as a hero for killing Zehaf-Bibeau before he could murder or harm anyone else. You could see tears rolling down the staunch officer’s cheeks, as he stood otherwise composed, while the members of parliament gave him a standing ovation, and I couldn’t help but cry for this brave man too, for though he had done the right thing by killing the killer before he could kill anyone else, he would have to live and come to terms with the knowledge that he had taken a human life.

This whole story is heartbreaking. An innocent twenty-four year old, with his whole life ahead of him, including a wife and a six year old son, who will now grow up fatherless, not to mention a brother and parents, was senselessly slain. As a parent of two grown children, I can’t imagine losing one of my children. In the natural scheme of things, parents are usually the first to pass on, and I can’t even begin to imagine how devastating this loss must be to Corporal Cirillo’s family. How could I not weep over this story?

Thomas Eric Duncan
Thomas Eric Duncan

Another story covered, was the ebola epidemic, and the nurses who cared for Liberian national, Thomas Eric Duncan, who was forty-two years old, when he died of the deadly ebola virus in the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. The nurses who spoke to reporters seemed to be genuinely compassionate, as they shared what it was like to care for the dying man. One nurse in particular said that he held Mr. Duncan’s hand, staying by his bedside, in the place of his family members, who were not allowed to be there, because of the danger  of catching the highly infectious disease.

Other nurses shared how their community has responded to them. One said that her niece was asked not to return to school for twenty-one days, even though they don’t even live together. Still others said they were being shunned by various friends and businesses, who were fearful of the medical team contaminating them with the virus, even though the virus is transmitted by body fluids, and is not airborne.

Again, I couldn’t help but weep, for Mr. Duncan, who caught the deadly disease when he buried his pregnant daughter, who died from it. In the aftermath of his falling ill with the dreaded disease, both the Liberian government and the Dallas County prosecutor considered filing criminal charges against the dying man for bringing the disease to the United States.

How ironic this is, when it was the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital that failed to test and treat Mr. Duncan immediately, when he arrived in the Emergency Room on September 24, 2014. When Thomas Duncan told the ER staff he had just returned to the United States from Africa, they should have questioned him more closely about where in Africa he had come from. He should also have been tested for ebola, based simply on the knowledge that he had come from Africa, where the ebola epidemic rages on, yet instead of admitting him to an isolated unit and testing him for the disease, they dropped the ball, sending him home with antibiotics, which could not fight the disease; and to his family, thereby putting them at risk of catching the ebola virus.

When Thomas Duncan returned four days later, on September 28, 2014, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital dropped the ball yet again, with this very sick patient. Yes, they admitted him to an isolated room, but they failed to treat the disease until six days later, on October 4, 2014, when they treated him with an experimental drug. Sadly, it was too little, too late, and Mr. Thomas Duncan died on October 8, 2014.  Had he been tested and treated immediately, there is every reason to believe that Thomas Duncan would have survived the disease, like every other patient who has been treated here in the United States. Again, how could I not weep over the injustice of this?

Man-attacks-police-with-hatchet-jpgAlso in the news was a recap of the unprovoked attack by a man armed with a hatchet on Thursday, who struck two police officers, one on his arm, and other on his head, before he was shot and killed by the two other officers who were there. Sadly, an innocent bystander, a twenty-nine year old woman, was shot in her lower back. Yet again, I couldn’t help but cry, and still, the news continued.

Jaylen Fryberg
Jaylen Fryberg

Friday, during the early lunch at a high school in the state of Washington, Jaylen Fryberg, a fourteen year old freshman, shot and killed a female student, and wounded four others, before shooting and killing himself. It was said that he shot both family members and friends. What could be so wrong, that he would do something so terrible? I couldn’t seem to help myself, as I sat in my recliner, weeping for the lost souls, who placed no value on human lives.

The final story was an uplifting story, yet it, too, broke my heart. Lauren Hill, nineteen years old, and a Freshman at Mount St. Joseph University, near Cincinnati, Ohio, is also a basketball player. After discovering she had a malignant brain tumor that was terminal, Lauren’s response was, “Can I at least still play basketball?”

Lauren Hill
Lauren Hill

Wearing jersey  number 22, Lauren gets up early every morning to practice with her team. Though the tumor has weakened her coordination and energy, Lauren still pushes herself to come to practice. Her goal has been to play NCAA basketball for Mount St. Joseph University since she first found out about her tumor, but because it is likely that she has only a couple of weeks left to live, the NCAA did something unprecedented. Because Lauren’s situation is so urgent, the NCAA made a special exception to change the Division III school’s opener against Hiram College to Nov. 2, despite its rules that require seasons to start later in November.

Lauren’s hopefulness is inspiring. Her goal isn’t just to live to play that one game. She has stated that she hopes Sunday’s game will just be her first basketball game with  her team, and that many others will follow. Again, how could I not weep as I witnessed this young woman’s courage in the face of certain death?

As I sat in my recliner weeping, I wondered what was wrong with me. After all, it’s not as though I knew any of the people in these stories personally, but then, just as quickly, another thought ran through my  mind. “There’s nothing wrong with you for weeping for those who are suffering. Instead, you should ask, “What’s wrong with the people who are not as affected by these stories?”

Sadly, far too many people have become desensitized to the pain of others, Even Christians have become hardened to the pain of strangers. Many adults and young people watch horror films and murder shows, not to mention the nightly news, with all of the violence going on throughout the world, while still others play violent games, and search out violent websites. After viewing so much violence and killing, many people have become desensitized to these things.

However, for those of us who are Christians, this should not be. It’s easy not to feel personally affected by the suffering of someone we don’t know, and have never seen, yet, as followers of Christ, we are to love even those we don’t know, and when you love someone, you care about what happens to them, even if you haven’t seen him/her for a long time. In fact, look at this command for Christians…

15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. ~ Romans 12:15  NASB ~

Beloved reader, when is the last time you wept because of the plight of people you may not even know? When you hear of human trafficking; of children being sold as sex slaves; of men, women and children dying of dreadful diseases like ebola; of tragedies like hurricanes and tornadoes destroying people’s homes and even killing them, do you feel the weight of their pain? Does your heart ache for the abused and misused? The prophets wept for the people of Judea and Israel, especially Jeremiah. Jesus wept for Mary when He saw her weeping over the death of her brother, Lazarus…

33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and [h]was troubled, 34 and said,“Where have you laid him?” They *said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. ~ John 11:33-35  NASB ~

Beloved reader, if you find yourself unmoved by the pain and suffering of others, then you need to pray for God to change your heart of stone…

26 Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. ~ Ezekiel 36:26  NASB ~

Ask the Lord to fill you with His love for others. Ask Him to help you to love others the same way that He loves them. Ask Him to help you to weep with those who weep, and to rejoice with those who rejoice, in Jesus’ name. For this is God’s will for His children. In fact, Jesus commands us to love even our enemies…

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” ~ Matthew 5:43-48  NASB ~

Finally, beloved readers, ask your heavenly Father to help you to weep with those who weep and to rejoice with those who rejoice, in Jesus’ name. For He is faithful to His children, and if we delight ourselves in Him, and ask for anything according to His will, He will give us the desires of our heart…

14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. ~ 1 John 5:14-15  NASB ~

Take delight in the Lord,
    and He will give you your heart’s desires. ~ Psalm 37:4  NLT ~

Beloved reader, don’t become desensitized (hard of heart). Rather, weep for those who are hurting and struggling. Weep for those who are lost. Weep for the many nations, including our own, who are bent on going to hell.

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Hollywood’s Sex Scandals – Enough is Enough!

hollywood-scandals-6361

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything on this blog. For that matter, I haven’t posted anything on my other blog, Stories for the Heart, since October 8, before I went to the hospital for a spinal cord stimulator implant. It isn’t that I didn’t want to write anything, because I’ve had this word on my heart for a long time. However, the surgery left me feeling exhausted. In fact, every time I would sit down to write something, I would find myself waking up a few hours later. Try as I might, I just couldn’t hold my eyelids open. I’m still pretty exhausted, and there’s no telling when I’ll be able to finish this post. However, I’m determined to at least get this post started.

This is an important message that is certain to offend many. For those who are offended, I make no apologies. What I’ve written is the truth, nothing more and nothing less. If you are one of those who would rather not know the truth, then I suggest you read something else – perhaps a book by Joel Osteen, or another author, who would prefer to tickle your ears with a lie, than take a stand for the truth…

Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers, God will judge.  ~ Hebrews 13:4  NASB ~

Hollywood has always been a hotbed of sex scandals, ever since it’s foundation as the movie mecca of the world. It’s earliest actors and actresses were involved in domestic disputes and criminal maleficence, as well as many sordid sexual scandals. Almost, from its inception, Hollywood “royalty” seemed to live above the law, as though their money and notoriety allowed them to purchase additional freedoms, above those of normal men and women.

Sadly, nearly one hundred years later, nothing much has changed for Hollywood “royalty.” This last week, while I was in the hospital, I listened to the news and read about the recent scandal where computer hackers apprehended the nude photos of one male and twenty-five female celebrities, and I’ve kept my thoughts to myself. Then, this week, on October 6, 2014, by refusing to decide whether states have the right to ban same-sex marriages, the Supreme Court thereby allowed five more states to marry homosexual men and women, a right strongly advocated for by many of Hollywood’s elite. Also, on Monday, October 6, 2014, an alleged audio recording of Stephen Collins, actor (best known for his role as pastor and father in television’s 7th Heaven), emerged, on which he was heard confessing to molesting three young girls between the ages of ten or eleven and thirteen.

The whole thing leaves me feeling sickened for our nation, which continues to sink lower and lower into debauchery. Is there no one willing to take a stand for righteousness? As I think about the state of our country, I have to admit, with great sadness, that we are no better than Sodom and Gomorrah, and if those of us who are called Christians do not humble ourselves and pray, and seek God’s face, and turn from our wicked ways, then we will be judged for the evils in this land. “But wait a minute, Cheryl,” some might say. “This isn’t my fault. I don’t do any of the things you’re  talking about.” 

Really? Perhaps you haven’t participated in any of the wickedness I’ve referred to, but what have you done to stop it? Have you spoken to those involved in these and other sins, and warned them of God’s anger? Have you shared the truth with those who are lost? Or do you look the other way and ignore the sin taking place in front of your eyes, and mumble, “God forgive them,” without ever taking the time to warn them?

17 Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it. ~ James 4:17  NLT ~

Let’s just take a look at what’s been happening recently in the news and address these issues truthfully, in the light of God’s word… Jennifer Lawrence made these comments, in an exclusive interview with Vanity Fair, for their November 2014 issue, after hackers released nude photos of her and several other celebrities, “The people who chose to look at nude celebrity photos that hackers posted committed ‘a sexual offence…’  It is not a scandal. It is a sex crime,” she said about the hackers. “It is a sexual violation. It’s disgusting. The law needs to be changed, and we need to change.”

Ms. Lawrence continued, “Anybody who looked at those pictures, you’re perpetuating a sexual offence. You should cower with shame.”

I wonder, how many of you, who are reading this post, agree with Jennifer Lawrence’s statements? Indeed, those who hacked and posted the photos, and those who chose to look at them, did commit a sexual offence, not against the celebrities, who willingly allowed themselves to be photographed in nude and sexually explicit photos, but against God and themselves. 

Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, 10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. ~ 1 Corinthians 6:9-10  NLT ~

As for Ms. Lawrence’s comment that this was not a scandal, I beg to differ. According to Dictionary.com, the definition for scandal is:

1.  a disgraceful or discreditable action, circumstance, etc.
2.  an offense caused by a fault or misdeed.
3.  damage to reputation; public disgrace.
4.  defamatory talk; malicious gossip.
5.  a person whose conduct brings disgrace or offense.  verb (used with object), scandaled, scandaling or (especially  British) scandalled, scandalling.
6. British Dialect. to defame (someone) by spreading             scandal.
7.  Obsolete. to disgrace.
True, there are many, perhaps even a majority of people who, in this technological age of “sexting” and nude “selfies”, see nothing wrong with posing for nude photographs with a boyfriend, lover or spouse, but regardless of what the majority believes, it is still sinful, and it is indeed, scandalous. Furthermore, I find it morally outrageous that Ms. Lawrence has the nerve to call this a “sex crime” and a “sexual violation.” As one who was sexually violated as a child, against my will, I see no correlation between the sexual crime that was committed against me, against my will, and the fact that pictures she willingly posed for have come into the public eye. It is well known that if you pose for nude photos, there is always a chance that they will be made public, thus causing a scandal. She chose to take that risk. No one forced her to do so against her will. That is the difference between a sexual crime and a scandal.
 
Another example of the difference between a sex crime and the scandal that Ms. Lawrence and others find themselves in is the case of the Sayerville High School football team, in which at least seven (perhaps more) upper class football players sodomized several under class football players, calling it “hazing.” Give me a break! This was not hazing. This was a sex crime. It was rape and it was sodomy. The victims of this attack did not willing pose for nude photos. They were violated against their will. These boys were victims. 
 
The difference between someone involved in a scandal and the victim of a sex crime is that the one involved in the scandal may or may not feel shame for a period of time, but they will recover fairly quickly. However, the  victim of a sex crime must fight for recovery for the rest of his/her life. In many instances, the victim suffers from post traumatic stress, and battles with suicidal thoughts as well. His/her experience leaves him/her wounded and fearful of intimacy for the rest of his/her life. The victim often carries the burden of shame because of the crime committed against him/her, and many times, people are more sympathetic towards the perpetrator of the crime than the victim.  This should not be.
This wasn’t the only Hollywood scandal I heard about while in the hospital. There was also an audio tape of Stephen Collins, the actor who played the father and pastor on Seventh Heaven for many years, allegedly confessing to molesting several young girls, ages ten through thirteen. Again, if the allegations against him are true, how terrible for the little girls who were victimized. This is a sex crime, and my heart goes out to the girls who were harmed by another of Hollywood’s elite. 
 
So, Christian, do you wonder what all of this has to do with you? What can we do about things like this? We must boldly take a stand and cry out against the evil in our land…
 
14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. ~ 2 Chronicles 7:14  NKJV~
After killing Abel, when God asked Cain where his brother was, Cain  responded by asking God a rhetorical question… He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”  Though God didn’t answer that question, if we look at the following passage from Ezekiel 3:17-21, we will see that we are responsible for our brothers and sisters, and anyone we come in contact with. In fact, our responsibility for others is so great, that the Lord repeats Himself to Ezekiel again in Ezekiel 33.
17 “Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for Israel. Whenever you receive a message from Me, warn people immediately. 18 If I warn the wicked, saying, ‘You are under the penalty of death,’ but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible for their deaths. 19 If you warn them and they refuse to repent and keep on sinning, they will die in their sins. But you will have saved yourself because you obeyed Me.20 “If righteous people turn away from their righteous behavior and ignore the obstacles I put in their way, they will die. And if you do not warn them, they will die in their sins. None of their righteous acts will be remembered, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. 21 But if you warn righteous people not to sin and they listen to you and do not sin, they will live, and you will have saved yourself, too.” ~ Ezekiel 3:17-21 NLT ~

Therefore, beloved Christian, our responsibility for others is so great that we must be willing to speak the truth to others in love, because if we don’t warn them, and they die in their sins, their blood will be on our hands. And though we might want to say, as Pontius Pilate did, that we wash our hands of any responsibility for their death,  God has already made it clear in His word, that we are responsible for warning those who are lost in sin. Beloved reader, people are talking about these things at work, on the streets, in the beauty and barber shops, and all over. Do you smile and agree with what’s being said, or do you let your light so shine before men that they might see your good works and glorify the Lord? 
I must address one final issue before I close this post, and that is the issue of the Supreme Court’s refusal to address the rights of same sex marriage, which led to men  and women in five different states marrying their partners of the same sex. Marriage was not created by man, but by God, for the purpose of being fruitful and multiplying. When Adam was alone, God saw that it was not good for him to be alone. Therefore, He created woman from the side of the man, to be his helper and his wife. He did not create two men to procreate, nor did He create two women to procreate. He created man and woman to marry and it was good. Later, as men and women became more and more wicked, God addressed homosexuality and He called it an abomination, because men and women had turned away from Him and what He had created them for, and given themselves over to what was unnatural.
Therefore, regardless of what the Supreme Court of the United States or any other country deems legal, if it goes against the Law of God, then it is sinful and wrong. I don’t hate any man or woman who chooses to live in sin. My heart breaks for them, because they have chosen to live contrary to God’s will for their lives, and the wages of sin is death. I understand that many will read this post and hate me for what I have written, but I must speak the truth in love. I pray that what I have shared will touch someone’s heart, and they will turn from their wicked ways and call upon the name of the Lord and be saved.
You see, I don’t have to close on a sad note, because God is so wonderful that He made a way for every man, woman and child to be saved, no matter what we’ve done, or who we’ve done it with.  We just need to do as Peter commanded in Acts…
38 Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” ~ Acts 2:38  NLT ~
 Hallelujah! It doesn’t get any better than that. Beloved readers, I pray that as you read the words I shared with you today, you repented of your sins and turned to God in Jesus’ name. My heart’s desire is that no one would perish, but that all who read these words would call on Jesus and be saved. 
© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Sweet Little Lies

Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being,
And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom. ~ Psalm 51:6  NASB ~

Image Credit: Written Reality
Image Credit:
Written Reality

We live in a sinful world filled with deception and governed by the father of lies. We’re taught from a young age to hide our feelings, and put on a happy face, no matter what is going on inside of us. Those who have been raised in an abusive family are taught from a young age to deny and hide the truth, using any means of deception necessary to protect the abuser(s). We’re even taught that it’s better to tell a “little white lie” than to hurt someone. Even Fleetwood Mac alluded to “sweet little lies,” in their 1987 hit song, “Little Lies,” but are lies really sweet?

How do you trust someone who lies to you, when lies are the polar opposite of the truth. As a matter of fact, scripture makes it very clear where both lies and the truth come from…

Jesus told him, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.” ~ John 14:6  NLT ~

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.” ~ John 8:44  NLT ~

How do you feel? Do you think it’s okay to tell little white lies? What makes a lie white? If some lies are white, are other lies black? Where do you draw the line?

According to the bible, Satan is a liar and the father of lies. Also according to scripture, Jesus said that He is the Truth. Please note that nowhere in the bible do the scriptures imply a difference in types of lies (i.e. – white lies or black lies). Indeed, the scriptures make it very clear that not only is the devil a liar, he is the father of all lies. Wow. Just think about that for a minute. If the devil (God’s enemy) is truly the father of all lies, then there is no such thing as white lies. Furthermore, the scripture says that when the devil lies, it is consistent with his character.

So, keeping this in mind, what do the scriptures say about God’s character???

God is not a man, so He does not lie.
He is not human, so He does not change His mind.
Has He ever spoken and failed to act?
Has He ever promised and not carried it through?
~ Numbers 23:19  NLT ~

29 And He who is the Glory of Israel will not lie, nor will He change His mind, for He is not human that He should change His mind!”  ~ 1 Samuel 15:29  NLT ~

This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began. ~ Titus 1:2  NLT ~

18 So God has given both His promise and His oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. ~ Hebrews 6:18  NLT ~

According to Hebrews 6:18, it is impossible for God to lie, just as there is no truth in the devil. Therefore, when we become a child of God, Jesus, who is the Truth, dwells in our hearts, and if He dwells within our hearts, then how can we participate in any lie? Yet, sadly, so many people, Christians included, are confused about this, because they have bought into the lies the world has repeated to them, rather than seeking the truth from their Father.

Image Credit: God Follower Blog
Image Credit:
God Follower Blog

Think about it this way, God’s Holy Spirit lives in the hearts of all of His children, who are believers in Jesus Christ. Now, if I am walking in the Spirit, I will not even utter a white lie, because it is impossible for God to lie, and when I walk in the Spirit, I am walking in obedience to God. However, if I choose to share a sweet little lie, for a good reason, then, I am walking in my flesh, and it is sin.

Who is truly a good friend, one who lies and tells you what you want to hear, or someone who tells you the truth, even though it may be painful to hear? Do you want to confide in someone who promises to keep your confidence, but tells you sweet little lies or the one who always speaks the truth?

Finally, beloved readers, consider this. Lies do not lead to freedom. Indeed, they bind us in a tangled web…

Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practice to deceive! ~ Sir Walter Scott ~

Do you truly want to be free and walk in complete liberty? Then seek and speak only the truth beloved friend. Don’t be a slave to someone else’s lies, or worse yet, your own!

32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” ~ John 8:32  NLT ~

Finally beloved reader, I leave you with this warning from Revelation…

“But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars—their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” ~ Revelation 21:8  NLT ~

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Who Are You Worshiping For?

My daughter sent me the following video clip of Victoria Osteen, exhorting her congregation, a few days ago, and as I watched it, I couldn’t help but feel sickened and uneasy in the pit of my stomach. In the clip, Mrs. Osteen gave the congregation at Lakewood Church, and the television audience, reasons to worship God, that left me both shocked and disgusted as I watched. Like someone who witnesses a terrible crime or accident, I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen, nor could I stop myself from listening to every word that she spoke, in stunned silence.

I’ve already written about Joel Osteen, and the false gospel  he preaches and teaches (see bulleted links below).

Yet, although I’ve researched Joel Osteen’s false gospel, I never gave much thought about his wife, Victoria, and her beliefs and teachings, until I watched this video clip (see below).

I concur with Bill Cosby’s statement tacked on at the end of Victoria Osteen’s exhortation. For that truly is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard coming out of a minister’s mouth. Indeed, after listening to Mrs. Osteen’s heretic urging and teaching in this video, I feel compelled to address the things she said from a biblical standpoint.

“So I just want to encourage every one of us to realize, when we obey God, we’re not doin’ it for God. I mean that’s one way to look at it. We’re doin’ it for ourself, because God takes pleasure when we’re happy. That’s the thing that gives Him the greatest joy this morning.

“So I want you to know this morning, just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you to be happy. When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doin’ it for God, really. You’re doin’ it for yourself, because that’s what makes God happy. Amen?”

Victoria OsteenWhen Mrs. Osteen stated that when we obey God, we’re not doing it for Him, but for ourselves, I was shocked and disgusted by how narcissistic her exhortation was. Let’s be clear about this, the Lord, our God is a jealous God, and though He loves us with an everlasting love, He is God and we worship Him because He alone is worthy of worship…

“You must not have any other god but Me.”  ~ Exodus 20:3  NLT ~

“You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject Me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love Me and obey My commands.  ~ Exodus 20:4-6  NLT ~

By suggesting that we worship for ourselves, Victoria Osteen is inviting her followers to be as prideful and self-serving as Satan was when he tried to exalt himself over God. Those who do as Mrs. Osteen suggested, are setting themselves up as gods or idols, and God makes Himself very clear about the dangers of idol worship. Whenever anyone chooses to exalt himself above God, he/she will earn His wrath, just as Lucifer did. Further, just as Lucifer was brought low for his pride, so will all, who exalt themselves above God, be brought low.

12 “How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son            of the morning! You have been thrown down to the            earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world.
13   For you said to yourself, ‘I will ascend to heaven and          set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the          mountain of the gods far away in the north.
14 I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the                 Most High.’
15 Instead, you will be brought down to the place of the         dead, down to its lowest depths.  ~ Isaiah 14:12-15            NLT ~

17 Your heart was filled with pride because of all your            beauty. Your wisdom was corrupted by your love of            splendor. So I threw you to the ground and exposed            you to the curious gaze of kings. ~ Ezekiel 28:17  NLT        ~

"Cut Down - The Pride of Nebuchadnezzar" by: Slavujac
“Cut Down – The Pride of Nebuchadnezzar”
by: Slavujac

Don’t be deceived! Those who dare to exalt themselves above the Lord will be brought low, if not in this lifetime, then certainly when they come to the judgement seat of Christ. A good example of this can be found in Daniel 4, when King Nebuchadnezzar exalted himself above God by not acknowledging that all of his accomplishments were a result of God’s goodness to him. Instead, Nebuchadnezzar bragged that his accomplishments were a result of his own doing, crediting himself, rather than God. As a result, King Nebuchadnezzar was brought very low. (Click the link to Daniel 4, above, to read the whole story.)

Mrs. Osteen also claimed that God wants us to be happy, and that He takes pleasure in our happiness. Now, while that sounds really nice, it isn’t true. The fact is that mankind is often very happy when he is sinning, and this most certainly does NOT please God.

24 It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He thought it was better to suffer for the sake of Christ than to own the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his great reward. ~ Hebrews 11:24-25  NLT ~

The fact is that by encouraging people to worship to please themselves instead of God, Mrs. Osteen is aiding Satan, who comes to steal, kill and destroy, by robbing and cheating people out of the blessings that could be theirs. Not only that, but those who refuse to worship the Lord in spirit and truth will be punished. Let’s examine the consequences of choosing not to worship God for His name’s sake…

Take delight in the Lordand He will give you your heart’s desires. ~ Psalm 37:4  NLT ~

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! ~ Philippians 4:4  NASB ~

47 If you do not serve the Lord your God with joy and enthusiasm for the abundant benefits you have received, 48 you will serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you. You will be left hungry, thirsty, naked, and lacking in everything. The Lord will put an iron yoke on your neck, oppressing you harshly until He has destroyed you. ~Deuteronomy 28:47-48  NLT ~

The consequences for not worshiping and obeying the Lord in spirit and in truth are serious. That is why it is vital for every believer to study and know God’s word, for it is easy to be led astray. Let’s see what the scriptures say about how we should worship and obey the Lord…

12 Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him

14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. 16 Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. 17 But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy. 18 Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy. ~ Philippians 2:12-18  NLT ~

Beloved readers, as we examine the scriptures, do you see where it tells us to worship to please ourselves? In each of the scriptures above, we are commanded to delight ourselves in the Lord, or to rejoice in the LordNOT in ourselves. In fact, Paul tells us to obey God with deep reverence and fear. There’s certainly no room to be self-centered in that command. Then, as we worship and obey Him with deep reverence and fear, God will reward us by giving us the desire to do what pleases Him. Again, it says NOTHING about worshiping to please ourselves. Our goal is to do what pleases God.

Image Credit: Pinterest - Carmen Woodie
Image Credit:
Pinterest – Carmen Woodie

Beloved readers, please do not get tangled in the false teachings and false doctrines of mankind. Instead, seek your answers from God’s word. The following scripture is my heartfelt prayer for each person who reads this post…

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. ~ Romans 12:1-2  NLT ~

Beloved readers, God is worthy of our worship. All too often, we sometimes confuse ourselves or others by trying to make worship more appealing to the masses. We confuse people into believing that worship is singing hymns, or “Praise and Worship” music, but that is not what worship is.

Worship is declaring God’s “worth.” We can declare God’s worth in many ways. One way to worship God is through obedience. The first time that “worship” is mentioned in the bible is when God commanded Abraham to take his son, Isaac, up the mountain, to offer him as a sacrifice to Him, in Genesis 22:

“Stay here with the donkey,” Abraham told the servants. “The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then we will come right back.”

Image Credit: christianslikeme.net
Image Credit:
christianslikeme.net

The Lord had asked Abraham to sacrifice his precious son, whom he had long waited for, and offer him as a burnt sacrifice. Now, here’s one thing I’m certain of, this act of worship did not make Abraham happy. In fact, I feel certain that this was the hardest thing Abraham had ever had to do. Now, if Abraham had been listening to Victoria Osteen, he might have sung a “worship” song that made him happy, rationalizing that since he was happy with his choice of worship, then God must be happy too.

Now, just think about this for a minute. If Abraham had done as Mrs. Osteen suggested, he would not have heard the angel of the Lord… he would not have seen the ram in the bushes and sacrificed it to God… he would not have proved that he truly did fear and revere the Lord… he may not have become the father of many nations… God’s Son, Jesus, may not have come from his bloodline…

Beloved readers, in closing, I leave you with these scriptures about worship. I urge you to worship the Lord according to His word, NOT Victoria Osteen’s word…

24 “For God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.” ~ John 4:24  NLT ~

Come, let us worship and bow down.
    Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker… ~ Psalm 95:6  NLT ~

Jesus replied, “The Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only Him.'” ~ Luke 4:8  NLT ~

28 Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping Him with holy fear and awe. 29 For our God is a devouring fire. ~ Hebrews 12:28-29  NLT ~

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Whoever Has the Son Has Life…

12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life. ~ 1 John 5:12  NLT ~

Image Credit: Whoever has the Son has eternal life.
Image Credit:
Whoever has the Son has eternal life.

What a powerful scripture! “Whoever has the Son has life…”

When we’re drowning in sorrow, as long as the Son of God dwells within us, we have life.

When pain overtakes our body, we still live, despite the affliction, because Christ lives within us.

No matter what we endure for His name’s sake, we still have life, as long as He remains within our hearts.

And though our world crumbles and falls, even still, we live in His name.

Yes, although we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we are assured that though we die, yet, we shall live, when the Son of God is our Lord and Savior.

Image Credit: Nevada Pain
Image Credit:
Nevada Pain

I live with chronic back pain that keeps worsening with the passage of time. It often renders me unable to do the simplest daily activities, things that you never even think about, until you can no longer do them for yourself. I now require help to do things such as…

  • Bathing myself…
    • Dressing myself…
      • Cooking…
        • Cleaning…
          • Handicap Parking…
            • Walking (I must use a cane)…
              • Shopping (I must use a scooter)…
                • Playing with my grandchildren…

My husband now carries the load of cooking, cleaning and caring for me, and while I am so thankful for this good man, I also worry that I’ve become a burden to him. When I express this concern to him, he asks me if I thought he was a burden, whenever he’s been sick and unable to do anything, and my answer is, “No, of course not. I love you.”

He then smiles at me, and replies, “I love you too,” and I know this is true. I don’t understand how or why, but I am so grateful to my God and Savior, who knew me before I was conceived in my mother’s womb, and chose me to be His. I am thankful, because He knew, long before He placed me in my mother’s womb, that I would one day suffer with chronic back pain, and He had a plan to help me endure it. For three years before I was born, He had created a little boy, who would one day grow up to be my husband. So, knowing the love and patience that would be required to help me endure, He gifted my husband with love, joy, patience, gentleness and kindness…

Image Credit: Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
Image Credit:
Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

I wish I could tell you that I’ve accepted my circumstances graciously, but that would be a lie. My faith has been attacked from every side, and there have been many times when I’ve given up. I’ve discovered that it’s much easier to believe that God will answer my prayers for others, than it is to believe that He will answer my prayers for myself. Therefore, like the father of the boy with the murderous deaf-mute spirit that tried to kill him, by throwing him into the fire or water, while his body was overcome with convulsions, I find myself uttering his same desperate cry to Jesus…

20 So they brought the boy. But when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth.

21 “How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father.

He replied, “Since he was a little boy. 22 The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if You can.”

 23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”

24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

25 When Jesus saw that the crowd of onlookers was growing, He rebuked the evil spirit. “Listen, you spirit that makes this boy unable to hear and speak,” He said. “I command you to come out of this child and never enter him again!”

26 Then the spirit screamed and threw the boy into another violent convulsion and left him. The boy appeared to be dead. A murmur ran through the crowd as people said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him to his feet, and he stood up.

28 Afterward, when Jesus was alone in the house with His disciples, they asked Him, “Why couldn’t we cast out that evil spirit?”

29 Jesus replied, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer.” ~ Mark 9:20-29  NLT ~

Like this boy’s father, I desperately want to believe that Jesus will heal me, but what if that isn’t His will? What if His will is for me to endure this pain for reasons I don’t know? Oh, I know that many churches tell us that it is not God’s will for His people to suffer, but how do they explain the suffering endured by every one of the great heroes of faith?

  • Abel was murdered by his own brother because he offered a more acceptable gift to God than his brother…
    • Joseph suffered unjustly, betrayed by his brothers and sold as a slave. Then he became a prisoner in a country far from his home…
      • David, a man after God’s own heart, suffered greatly, chased by the murderous King Saul, losing his and Bathsheba’s first child to death, and later, betrayed by one of his own sons…
        • Jeremiah was known as the weeping prophet, for he suffered greatly for the Kingdom of God.
          • Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego were thrown in a fiery furnace…
            • Daniel was thrown in a den of lions...
          • 13 All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. 14 Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. 15 If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. 16 But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.  ~ Hebrews 11:13-16  NLT ~
        • 35 Women received their loved ones back again from death.

But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection.

36 Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. 37 Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. 38 They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.

39 All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. 40 For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us. ~ Hebrews 11:35-40  NLT ~

Now, many might argue that these are all Old Testament examples, and that we are living under the New Covenant, not the Law, and that is true. However, let us not forget that God is the same today, yesterday and forever…

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. ~ Hebrews 13:8  NLT ~

17 Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.  ~ James 1:17  NLT ~

“I am the Lord, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already destroyed.  ~ Malachi 3:6  NLT ~

While it is true that the examples above are Old Testament references, it is also true that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Not only did Old Testament men and women of God suffer for His name’s sake; New Testament men and women of God suffered as well…

And, because God is the same yesterday, today and forever, let us not forget that Old Testament and New Testament Christians weren’t the only ones to suffer…

  • Joni Eareckson Tada, a wonderful woman of God, with a powerful ministry, was in a terrible diving accident as a teen, and though she prayed for healing, it was God’s will for her to remain a quadriplegic, while still ministering for His glory.
    • Dave Roever, a godly man who served his country faithfully in the unpopular Vietnam war, was badly wounded by a hand grenade that exploded in his hand. Though his face was badly disfigured, he still gave glory to God, and ministered throughout the United States as an evangelist, then eventually returned to Vietnam as a missionary, at the Lord’s leading.
      • Patsy Clairmont, another woman of God, suffered for many years as an agoraphobic (fear of open places and crowds), before becoming an author and minister for the Lord.
        • Fanny Crosby, author of more than 8,000 hymns, loved the Lord and served Him faithfully, though she remained blind her entire life. And, rather than lamenting her circumstances, she once said, “Mother, if I had a choice, I would still choose to remain blind… for when I die; the first face I will ever see will be the face of my blessed Saviour.”

Therefore, despite the things I’ve been taught, when I examine the scriptures and the history of the church, I have come to realize that it isn’t God’s will for His people to remain trouble free, no matter what we’ve been told. In fact, it seems to me that it is in the dark times of suffering, in our weaknesses that God’s strength is revealed. In fact, even the apostle Paul asked God to remove his suffering…

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:8-10  NLT ~

As I study the word of God, concerning suffering, I am beginning to understand that those who have claimed that my suffering is God’s punishment against me, are absolutely wrong, and it is they who do not understand what God’s word truly says about suffering…

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. ~ Romans 5:3-5  NKJV ~

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. ~ James 1:2-4  NLT ~

18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later. ~ Romans 8:18  NLT ~

16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-18  NLT ~

As I read the Word of the Lord, my faith is being renewed and restored. For too long, I’ve allowed the false teachings and the opinions of others to weigh me down, filling me with fear and doubt, which only magnifies the physical pain I must endure. As I write these words and share the words the Lord has given me, I believe that God will use them to strengthen and encourage others who are suffering as well. 

Beloved readers, don’t allow false teaching and man’s opinions to influence you. If someone tells you that it isn’t God’s will for you to suffer, or if they blame your circumstances on your lack of faith, don’t allow those words to fill you with shame. If someone tells you that your suffering is a punishment from God, or an attack from the devil, don’t allow those words to influence you.

Instead, 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need. (Matthew 6:33 NLTBeloved readers, don’t assume that your suffering is a punishment from God or an attack from the devil. And don’t assume that your suffering is not a part of God’s will for your life, because nothing happens by chance, and if you are truly a child of God, and you are living in obedience to Him, then He will keep you in His will. In fact, don’t even waste your time asking why you are suffering. Instead, remember these words that Jesus spoke to His disciples…

33  “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33  NLT ~

Finally, beloved readers, no matter what you are suffering, the most important thing for you to cling to is your relationship with Jesus. Have you been born again? If so, then whatever your circumstances are, no matter how much pain and suffering you endure, no matter how oppressed and depressed you are or have been, rejoice, because you have life!

25 Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in Me will live, even after dying.” ~ John 11:25  NLT ~

12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.  ~ 1 John 5:12  NLT ~

In closing, I would like to share this final word with those people who are suffering and have never been born again. If you have read this post all the way to the end, rejoice, because God has not given up on you, and He can turn your suffering into a reason to rejoice, as well. It is not by chance that you found this post and read it; it is because God has led you here so that you can be born again and live.

In order to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you don’t have to pray a “Sinner’s Prayer.” You just need to  believe and do what the following scriptures say…

23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.  ~ Romans 3:23  NLT ~

According to this scripture, everyone has sinned against God, (except for Jesus, who was the Son of God and completely without sin). This means that every man, woman, boy and girl has sinned. It means that you have sinned, and I have sinned too. It means that even preachers and prophets have sinned. The scripture tells us that everyone has failed to meet the standard that God has set for us. This means that just as the worst criminal has fallen short of God’s glorious standard, we, too, have fallen short of His glorious standard. Do you believe this?

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.  ~ Romans 6:23  NLT ~

According to God’s Law, the penalty for sinning and falling short of His glorious standard is death. As you can plainly see, there is no differential for how big or how small the sin is. It simply says that the payment or wages for sin is death. It sounds pretty hopeless, doesn’t it? But God had a rescue plan for us…

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. 17 God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him.

18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in Him. But anyone who does not believe in Him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. 19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. 20 All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. 21 But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.  ~ John 3:16-21  NLT ~

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.”  ~ John 14:6  NLT ~

27 Everyone must die once, and after that be judged by God. 28 In the same manner Christ also was offered in sacrifice once to take away the sins of many. He will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are waiting for Him. ~ Hebrews 9:27-28  GNT ~

Do you believe this? Would you like to be born again and saved, so that you can spend eternity with the King of all kings and Lord of all lords? Would you like to have a personal relationship with the One who loved you before He laid the foundations of the earth?

Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. ~ Ephesians 1:4  NLT ~

If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. ~ Romans 10:9-10  NLT ~

Do you believe all of this? If so, openly declare it, so that all will know that you have been reborn. Then, to help you grow in your faith, begin reading and studying the Bible, for its pages contain God’s word. You don’t need to read large portions either. Instead, before you begin to read, ask God to give you an understanding heart. Then, read a small portion of it… (i.e. – John 1 is a good place to start, so begin reading John 1:1-5. Then, read it again, out loud, and meditate {think} about what it says. You might want to study just that small portion for a week, and write your thoughts about it. Then, begin reading the next portion and meditate on it.) [If you don’t have a bible, you can visit Bible Gateway and read the bible in any version you prefer. Try several different versions, and see which ones are the easiest to understand.]

Also, ask God to place other believers in your life, so that you can worship with them and grow spiritually. Welcome into the family of God, beloved reader. If I can help you in your new walk with God, write me a message and I will answer you and pray for you. God bless you!

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Overcoming the Spirit of Heaviness

R.I.P. Robin Williams by: DanDynamite

R.I.P. Robin Williams
by: DanDynamite

Exactly two weeks ago, today, Robin Williams, a much loved comedian,  unexpectedly died by his own hand. Sadly, as is often the case in such situations, most of his adoring fans, as well as his friends and family,  never saw it coming. Why would someone as exuberant and seemingly joyful as he was, choose to take his own life? The answer to this question can be summed up in one word:

Depression

Dictionary.com defines depression this way:

1.    the act of depressing.
2.    the state of being depressed.
3.    depressed or sunken place or part; an area lower than
        the surrounding surface.
4.    sadness; gloom; dejection.
5.    Psychiatry. a condition of general emotional dejection
        and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged
        than that warranted by any objective reason.

Depression is as old as sin, and God’s word lets us know that it is a spirit. In fact, Isaiah 61:3 gives us the name of this spirit:

To console those who mourn in Zion,
   To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
   The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
   That they may be called trees of righteousness,
   The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
    ~ Isaiah 61:3   NKJV ~

TodaysBibleVerse.com
TodaysBibleVerse.com

None of us is exempt from experiencing feelings of sadness, fear and pain during our lifetime, and those feelings are perfectly normal in our sinful and imperfect world. For though God created a beautiful and perfect world for us to live in, that perfection was forever lost to mankind when Adam and Eve, father and mother to all humanity, chose to sin, and in so doing, handed their God-given dominion to Satan, whose mission is to steal, kill and destroy every man, woman and child from the face of the earth, according to Jesus, whose intent is to give us an abundant life…

10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My       purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. 
~ John 10:10  NLT ~

Image Credit: Subconsciously Thinking
Image Credit:
Subconsciously Thinking

Those who have never experienced depression, have a difficult time empathizing and understanding what it is like, for those who live with it. In fact, I always had difficulty understanding it, until I began to experience it for myself, more than a year ago. Depression truly is a spirit of heaviness, and those who carry that weight often falter and fail beneath the it, regardless of how strong, or joyful, or spiritually grounded they are.

Often, the person who is battling with depression slips under the radar, unnoticed, because they wear many different masks. I know this because I’ve worn those masks too, in an effort to appear “normal.” That spirit of heaviness is almost always accompanied by tormenting spirits that whisper accusations of worthlessness to the depressed person, reminding him/her of past or recent failures, and threatening to expose them. The spirit of fear is also closely associated with depression, as it magnifies the person’s current state, threatening to bring every one of his/her fears to fruition.

I’ve been under attack from these spirits for more than a year now, in addition to living with severe chronic back pain, and to be very honest, the weight of the depression has been heavier than any weight I’ve ever carried. I’ve been constantly tormented with accusing voices whispering how worthless I am, and that I am no longer able to minister or bless God. Because I require assistance from my husband to help me get dressed, and to cook and clean and take care of the household chores that I was once able to do, I hear those tormenting voices telling me that I’m wearing my husband down, and that I’m nothing but a burden to him, though he assures me that he loves me, and that caring for me is not a burden to him. Still, the accusations continue, wearing me down emotionally and spiritually, while the pain continues to wear me down physically. And yet, I put on my happy mask when I meet with others, fearing their condemnation on top of what I am already dealing with.

Have you ever experienced the weight and pain that comes from the spirit of heaviness? Do you try to hide what you are going through, to try and avoid more condemnation? Do you think it’s possible that Robin Williams dealt with those same spirits? 

Do you know what motivates me to continue each day, despite the war that’s being waged against my body, soul, mind and spirit? It is the fear of the Lord. You see, though my body is failing, and though discouragement is all around me, I still BELIEVE in the Lord of all creation. I still believe that He is good, and that His plans are to prosper me and not to harm me, and to give me a hope and a future. Although I don’t understand how or why, I believe that God will cause my pain and suffering to work together for my good, because I love Him, and He has called me according to His purpose, not mine…

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.  ~ Proverbs 1:7  NASB ~

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”  ~ Jeremiah 29:11  NLT ~

28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.  ~ Romans 8:28  NLT ~

Since the onslaught of the spirit of heaviness against me, I have come to understand why some people choose to end their lives, especially those who do not have a personal relationship with Christ. There have been many times when my faith and hope have wavered and faltered, and yet, by God’s grace, they never completely die.

19 The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. 20 I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. 21 Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this:

22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. 23 Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. 24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him!”  ~ Lamentations 3:19-24  NLT ~

Beloved reader, if you are in the midst of a deep and dark depression, be encouraged. Nothing is ever hopeless, because the God I serve is the Almighty God, and with God, all things are possible. Please don’t give up on yourself or God, like Robin Williams did in his pain. Although he was seeking to end his pain, he may have unknowingly carried his pain into eternity. For now, he must answer to God for the life that he took when he committed suicide. Furthermore, if Robin wasn’t born again, then he will spend all of eternity in torment, separated from God. 

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”  ~ John 3:3  NLT ~

This is part of the devil’s cruel deception to mankind. He convinces mankind that there is no God, and then he fools them into killing themselves, thereby ensuring that these men will spend an eternity in hell. I pray that Robin Williams had a personal relationship with Christ, and that he is now in the arms of his creator, for that is the only way his torment will be ended. Sadly, nothing more can be done to help Robin Williams, but there is still time  for you, beloved reader.

Remember that Jesus is the Good Shepherd, and if you have accepted His free gift of salvation, He will never leave you or forsake you. Trust Him to give you rest and give you peace. He will provide for all of your needs. If you will cast all your cares on Him, He will strengthen you and order your steps. 

Beloved reader, if you are going through the dark valley of depression, fear not, for He promises to remain with those who belong to Him, protecting them from all evil.  He is also the God who comforts His beloved children. 

Do you remember when I told you about those tormenting demons, who constantly wear you down with their accusations? Well, my God promises that He will prepare a feast for me in front of my enemies, and He will honor me by anointing my head with oil. I will overflow with His blessings, and His goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 23 – A psalm of David
New Living Translation

1      The Lord is my shepherd;
       I have all that I need.
2      He lets me rest in green meadows;
       He leads me beside peaceful streams.
    He renews my strength.
       He guides me along right paths,
       bringing honor to His name.
4      Even when I walk
       through the darkest valley,
       I will not be afraid,
       for You are close beside me.
       Your rod and Your staff
       protect and comfort me.
5      You prepare a feast for me
       in the presence of my enemies.
       You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
       My cup overflows with blessings.
6      Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue          me all the days of my life,
       and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

Finally, beloved readers, I encourage you to cast all your cares on Jesus, for He cares for you. God’s word commands us not to worry about anything, instead, we are to pray about it. Beloved reader, these words are not for you alone, but also for me. With each scripture that I’ve shared with you, I’ve felt the peace of God that passes all understanding. 

Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.  ~ 1 Peter 5:7  NLT ~

As you read each one of the scriptures that I’ve shared with you, I loose God’s Holy Spirit on you. I pray that He would breathe new life into your dry bones, so that you will live in Jesus’ name. I pray that as you speak each one of His words out loud, healing would begin in your heart and your mind. I bind the spirit of heaviness in each one who reads this post, and I loose God’s perfect peace on you.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  ~ Philippians 4:6-7  NLT ~

May God bless and comfort each one of you, my beloved readers, and may the mind of Christ be in you!

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Do You Believe? ~ Matthew 9:27-31 (Part 1)

Image Credit: St-Talka.org
Image Credit:
St-Talka.org

27 After Jesus left the girl’s home, two blind men followed along behind Him, shouting, “Son of David, have mercy on us!”

28 They went right into the house where He was staying, and Jesus asked them, Do you believe I can make you see?”

“Yes, Lord,” they told Him, “we do.”

29 Then He touched their eyes and said, “Because of your faith, it will happen.” 30 Then their eyes were opened, and they could see! Jesus sternly warned them, “Don’t tell anyone about this.” 31 But instead, they went out and spread His fame all over the region. ~ Matthew 9:29-31 — NLT ~

Do you believe that Jesus can…? Fill in the blank and ask yourself, “Do I believe that Jesus can heal my disease? Free me from painGive me a childGive me a home? FoodClothingDeliver me from fearDepressionAddictions? Do I believe that Jesus can forgive meLove meChange me?

When I began to truly follow Jesus, dedicating my whole life to Him, I could feel my faith growing stronger and stronger, as I read and studied God’s word…

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. ~ Romans 10:17 — NASB ~

Image Credit: Apostolic Titbits
Image Credit:
Apostolic Titbits

One of the ways our faith can grow is from hearing God’s word. We can hear His word when we go to church on Sundays, but hearing His word only once a week, will not help your faith to grow. If we want to have the faith that moves mountains, then we must know His word for ourselves. Indeed, we must know Christ  for ourselves, and there is no better way to know Him than to read His word and spend time talking and listening to Him.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:6-7 — NLT ~

Do you believe that Jesus can change your life? Can He heal your broken body? Can He mend your broken heart? Can He restore broken relationships?

But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. ~ James 1:6-8 — NLT ~

How strong is your faith? When Jesus asks you, “Do you believe I can make you (fill in the blank)how will you respond? Do you believe He can do anything, or do you doubt it?

I’ll be honest with you… I have such a strong faith that Jesus will help others, but when it comes to me personally, though I desperately long to believe, I struggle. I don’t think the struggle is so much can He, as will He? For the last three years, I’ve suffered with constant, chronic debilitating back pain, and I’ve prayed for relief, which hasn’t come.

When I first started dealing with this pain, I sensed the Lord telling me that this is something I must go through. So what does that mean, exactly? Is this a temporary thing? Or is it something I will have to deal with for the rest of my life? I desperately want to believe that  this won’t be forever, but I’m not sure. I want to pray according to God’s will for this, but I’m not sure what His will for me is… Is my faith weak? How about yours? What do we do when our faith is weak???

There was another person in the bible who loved the Lord and wanted to believe in Jesus’ power to help him, yet, like mine, his faith was much too weak. Yet this man didn’t allow that to stop him. Do you remember the man whose son was possessed by an evil spirit that caused him to have violent seizures, and wouldn’t allow the boy to speak? He brought his son to Jesus, hoping that He would heal and deliver his son, but when he arrived, Jesus wasn’t there, so he asked the disciples to cast the demon out. However, they were unable to do so, and the man was left feeling as dispirited as I’ve felt about my chronic back pain…

Then, of course, there were also naysayers in the crowd, who further depressed the poor crestfallen man, by stirring the pot. You know the kind of people I’m talking about. Instead of encouraging and empathizing your plight, they instead try to stamp out any faith you might still hold onto, by adding their opinions… “I told you, there’s nothing anyone can do”… “You don’t really believe God can do anything about your problem, do you???” This is the scene Jesus came upon when he returned to His disciples…

Image Credit: bongodogblog
Image Credit:
bongodogblog

16 “What is all this arguing about?” Jesus asked.

17 One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, “Teacher, I brought my son so you could heal him. He is possessed by an evil spirit that won’t let him talk. 18 And whenever this spirit seizes him, it throws him violently to the ground. Then he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn’t do it.”

19 Jesus said to them, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to Me.”

20 So they brought the boy. But when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth.

21 “How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father.

He replied, “Since he was a little boy. 22 The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if You can.”

23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”

24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” ~ Mark 9:16-24 — NLT ~

Image Credit: Darrell Creswell
Image Credit:
Darrell Creswell

Have you been there? You want to believe, and you know you should believe, but there’s still a part of you that just can’t believe. Not only that, but others have seen your situation, and added their opinions, and though you’ve tried not to listen to the negativity, it’s still registered in your brain, and you have that doubt on top of your own. 

The father of this boy had heard that Jesus was a miracle worker, and though he desperately wanted to believe, his boy had been like this for a long time.  Still, he had worked up his courage, and brought his boy, and the disciples had tried to cast the demons out to no avail. How discouraged he must have felt! 

Have you been there? I have. I’ve had several people, from several different churches, pray over me and prophesy that I am healed, though I really haven’t been. I’ve had some tell me to walk in my healing, even though I’m still in pain, denying the pain, though it remains. They’ve commanded me to walk around the church, when I can barely hold myself up, let alone make a trek around the church. I’ve been told to ignore my pain, and though I’m in excruciating pain, I should repeat over and over, “I am healed.”  Jesus never told anyone to deny their condition. He always deals in truth.  

Therefore, I am left with this realization… I am a lot like the father in this story. I desperately want to believe that Jesus will heal me, but I’m not sure that He will… Though I believe that He can, what if it’s not His will to heal me?

22 The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.”

23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”

24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” ~ Mark 9:22-24 — NLT ~

In the beginning of this study, Jesus asked the blind men, “Do you believe I can make you see?” (Matthew 9:28 — NLT) Later, He told the father of the demonized boy, “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?.. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”  (Mark 9:23 — NLT ) Therefore, in light of this study, I will join with  the boy’s father, tell ing the Lord, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24 — NLT)

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers


All bible references are taken from Bible Gateway. Do you want to look up a scripture, but can’t remember where to find it? Try finding it on Bible Gateway, a wonderful website that includes many different bible versions, study aids and helps. Bible Gateway is a great resource for all believers to grow in wisdom and knowledge of the Lord.

Death is Defeated ~ Matthew 9:23-26

Image Credit: Imagens Biblicas
Image Credit:
Imagens Biblicas

23 When Jesus arrived at the official’s home, He saw the noisy crowd and heard the funeral music. 24 “Get out!” He told them. “The girl isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.” But the crowd laughed at Him.25 After the crowd was put outside, however, Jesus went in and took the girl by the hand, and she stood up! 26 The report of this miracle swept through the entire countryside. ~ Matthew 9:23-26 — NLT ~

Nothing was too hard for Jesus to do. He gave sight to the blind (Matthew 9:27-31; Matthew 20:29-34; Mark 8:22-26; Mark 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-43; John 9). He healed lepers (Matthew 8:1-4; Mark 1:40-45; Luke 5:12-16; Luke 17:11-19). He healed those who were paralyzed (Matthew 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26; John 5:1-15). He also performed many other miracles, some that are written in the Bible, and others that aren’t…

Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written. ~ John 21:25 — NLT ~

Image Credit: Every Knee Shall Bow, by J. Kirk Richards
Image Credit:
Every Knee Shall Bow, by J. Kirk Richards

Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise to us, when we read that among the many miracles He performed in the name of God, He raised the dead. Jesus was fully aware of the power and authority God had given Him. Therefore, He walked in the complete fullness of God.

He was and is the Son of God. Therefore, He had authority over everything in heaven and on earth. This included authority over every living creature…

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 earth11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ~ Philippians 2:9-11 — NLT ~

authority over every animate and inanimate object

36 As He rode along, the crowds spread out their garments on the road ahead of Him. 37 When He reached the place where the road started down the Mount of Olives, all of His followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen.

38 “Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the LordPeace in heaven, and glory in highest heaven!”

39 But some of the Pharisees among the crowd said, “Teacher, rebuke Your followers for saying things like that!”

40 He replied, “If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!” ~ Luke 19:36-40 — NLT ~

Image Credit: David & Jonathan Inc.
Image Credit:
David & Jonathan Inc.

authority over the angels in heaven and the demons that roam the earth…

53 Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and He would send them instantly~ Matthew 26:53 — NLT ~

33 Once when He was in the synagogue, a man possessed by a demon—an evil spirit—began shouting at Jesus, 34 “Go away! Why are You interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” 

35 Jesus cut him short. “Be quiet! Come out of the man,” He ordered. At that, the demon threw the man to the floor as the crowd watched; then it came out of him without hurting him further

36 Amazed, the people exclaimed, “What authority and power this Man’s words possess! Even evil spirits obey Him, and they flee at His command!” ~ Luke 4:33-36 — NLT ~

... authority over every curse…

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. ~ Romans 8:2 — NASB ~

authority over every sin…

Jesus climbed into a boat and went back across the lake to His own town. Some people brought to Him a paralyzed man on a mat. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, Be encouraged, My child! Your sins are forgiven.” 

But some of the teachers of religious law said to themselves, “That’s blasphemy! Does He think He’s God?” 

Jesus knew what they were thinking, so He asked them, “Why do you have such evil thoughts in your hearts? 5 Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? 6 So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!” 

7 And the man jumped up and went home! Fear swept through the crowd as they saw this happen. And they praised God for sending a man with such great authority. ~ Matthew 9:1-8 — NLT ~

authority over every illness, whether curable or incurable…

16 That evening many demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. He cast out the evil spirits with a simple command, and He healed all the sick. 17 This fulfilled the word of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah, who said, “He took our sicknesses and removed our diseases.” ~ Matthew 8:16-17 — NLT ~

Jesus’ authority even included the wind and the waves…

23 Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with His disciples. 24 Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke Him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 

26 Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then He got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm

27 The disciples were amazed. “Who is this Man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey Him!”  ~ Matthew 8:23-27 — NLT ~

Image Credit: Peace Be Still, by James Seward
Image Credit:
Peace Be Still, by James Seward

Jesus Christ, Son  of God and Son of Man, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, has ALL AUTHORITY on heaven and on earth. This all encompassing power includes the power  of life and death. Therefore, because of His great power and authority, He was able to walk into that house filled with mourners grieving the death of a little girl and after shutting them up, He then threw them out of the house, allowing only the little girl’s parents and His disciples to enter the house with Him and go to where the little girl lay, dead on her bed…

Image Credit: Sunday Education
Image Credit:
Sunday Education

41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished. 43 He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat. ~ Mark 5:41-43 — NLT ~

So what does this mean to us? My beloved readers, it means everything to us! For you see, our whole hope is built on Christ’s authority over death, because each day that we live, we are also draw one day closer to our death. Now, for the very young, that day seems far off, but for those who are middle-aged and beyond, that day becomes more and more imminent. Therefore, Christ’s authority over death is our only hope…

14 Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could He die, and only by dying could He break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. 15 Only in this way could He set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. ~ Hebrews 2:14-15 — NLT ~

I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave. ~ Revelation 1:18 — NLT ~

25 For Christ must reign until He humbles all His enemies beneath His feet. 26 And the last enemy to be destroyed is death. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:25-26 — NLT ~

54 Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.
55 O death, where is your victory?
    O death, where is your sting?”

56 For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. 57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:54-58 — NLT ~

Beloved readers, Jesus’ authority to raise that little girl from the dead wasn’t just a one time event. He raised others, and at the end of time as we now know it, He will finally destroy death, once and for all! That means our loved ones who were born-again before their death, will be resurrected. That also means that if we, who are born-again, die before His return to earth, we will be resurrected as well.

Thank You, Lord, for Your compassion and grace. Thank You so much for sacrificing Your One and only Son for us, and Lord, thank You for making a way for us to be reborn in the Spirit. Lord, I praise You for conquering sin and death, so that we, Your children, could live with You throughout eternity. In Jesus’ name I  pray. Amen.

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

A Teachable Moment

HubPages How to Handle the Tattle Tale and the Tattling
HubPages
How to Handle the Tattle Tale and the Tattling

14 One day the disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus and asked him, “Why don’t your disciples fast like we do and the Pharisees do?”

15 Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.

16 “Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before.

17 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.”  ~ Matthew 9:14-17 — NLT ~

When I read this passage, I think of children, who often compare their circumstances with those of others… For example:

“My mom makes me do the dishes, so why doesn’t your son/daughter have to do them?”

“My dad makes me take the trash out, so why don’t your children have to do it?”

Image Credit: Organic and Simple, That's Church!
Image Credit:
Organic and Simple, That’s Church!

You get the picture. Doesn’t it seem that way to you? Now, if I’m to be totally honest with you, comments like that are very irritating to me, and I used to get very impatient with my children when they would make petty comments like that. If John’s disciples had come to me with that question, I probably would have snapped at them and put them in their place… I don’t know about you, but I’m sure glad I’m not Jesus…

Jesus was neither angry nor irritated with John’s disciples, even though they were complaining and criticizing His disciples. In fact, by criticizing His disciples for not fasting, John’s disciples were really criticizing Jesus, for not training His disciples properly. Yet Jesus took no offense from their accusations. Instead, He did something wonderful for them, whether they realized it or not.

You see, Jesus turned their accusations into a teachable moment. Rather than giving them a tongue-lashing, as I might have done, He spoke to them gently, and patiently. Instead of condemning them for having the audacity to question Him, He chose to teach them, and in lieu of telling them that it was none of their business, He explained why His disciples did not fast…

Bride Waiting for Christ15 Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.  ~ Matthew 9:15 — NLT ~

Jesus’ response to John’s disciples was simple enough for everyone to understand. In fact, it was simple enough that even now, more than two thousand years later, it remains reasonable…

Women often cry at weddings, but the tears they shed are tears of joy, not sadness. At the wedding reception, there is usually a lot of laughter and fun, as people eat and drink in honor of the bride and groom. It’s supposed to be a time of merriment and celebration.

Jesus explained that His presence here on earth was in many ways, like the presence of the groom at his wedding.  Would you mourn at the wedding, as long as the groom was there? Of course not! Therefore, as long as Jesus was here on earth with His disciples, why should they fast and mourn? Besides, there would come a day, when Jesus, (our Groom) would no longer be here on earth with them, and there would be plenty of time to fast and mourn then…

Image Credit: Children Bible Studies
Image Credit:
Children Bible Studies

But this wasn’t the only lesson Jesus was teaching them that day, and perhaps this lesson He was teaching was not only for John’s disciples, but for His disciples as well, though many have always assumed the words He spoke were simply to those who questioned them. For just as a parent will teach not only the child who is asking such a foolish, perhaps even rebellious question, but will also teach a lesson to the obedient child as well, so Jesus did in this case…

16 “Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before.

17 “And no one puts new wine into old wine skins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.”  ~ Matthew 9:16-17 — NLT ~

When a child first learns to read, would the teacher give the child “War and Peace,,” by Leo Tolstoy as a reading assignment? Of course not, because that would be much too difficult for the child to read, and it would only result in frustrating the child at the very least. At its worst, this assignment could cause the child to give up on reading altogether…

It was the same with the disciples. Several of these guys were fishermen, one was a tax collector and another was a zealot. None of these men were priests, prophets, Pharisees or Sadducees. These weren’t religious men, therefore, they weren’t used to submitting to various religious practices  like the Pharisees, Saducees, prophets and priests were. Also, many of John the Baptist’s disciples were likely Nazarites, just as he was, and since John often fasted, his disciples were used to living a “fasted” lifestyle, therefore, fasting was not as difficult for them as their complaints made it seem.

However, as I said before, Jesus’ disciples had a much different background than these other men, and for someone not used to fasting, it is quite difficult, which is why Jesus talked about patching old clothing with a new patch. To do so, would place too much pressure on the old cloth, thereby causing it to rip and tear. It is also why Jesus made the reference of placing new wine into old wine skins. Again, the pressure would cause the wine skins to burst, thereby rendering it useless. In the same way, to expect the disciples, who were untrained and undisciplined in fasting, and certain other religious practices, before they were ready, could cause them to break under the pressure, and perhaps render them useless.

Image Credit: 9 Dangerous Warning Signs of BURNOUT
Image Credit:
9 Dangerous Warning Signs of BURNOUT

It makes me sad sometimes, when I see a new Christian being put to work on various “projects” or committees, before they’ve had a chance to grow in the faith. For all too often, the majority will become burned out, and many will turn away from the Lord, going back to their old lifestyle that they’re used to…

When I became a mother, my baby was completely dependent on me for everything. He couldn’t even hold his own head up by himself. He needed me to support and protect him… He couldn’t feed himself. He needed me to provide his milk, and its source was from within me… He couldn’t communicate, except to cry. He needed me to understand his needs… He couldn’t get around by himself. I had to carry him everywhere…

In the same way, when a person is born again, whether they are a child or an adult, they are a babe in Christ, and just as a baby needs his parents to support him and protect him, so  a babe in Christ needs the Lord to lead other more mature believers to support him and protect him. Just as a newborn is unable to feed himself, so too, a new born again believer needs other, more mature believers to feed (teach) him on the word of God, and just as a newborn baby cannot eat steak, neither can a new believer digest more complicated doctrinal beliefs…

Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment ~ 1 Peter 2:2 — NLT ~

12 You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. 13 For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. 14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong. ~ Hebrews 5:12-14 — NLT ~

Furthermore, as a baby has a difficult time communicating his needs, a new believer also has a difficult time communicating and sharing his needs. The new believer hasn’t yet learned our language and our customs, therefore, he only knows how to respond to things the way he has always responded and communicated. And just as that baby needs his mommy to figure out what he needs, more mature believers and mentors are going to need to figure out what the new born again believer needs… 

When you look at this passage of scripture through these eyes, we begin to get a glimpse of Jesus’ great love and compassion for both His own disciples at the time, for John’s disciples, and for His future disciples, you and me. Praise God for these words of Jesus, which are always filled with love, grace and mercy!

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Far Greater Than the Angels ~ Hebrews 1:4

Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, He has spoken to us through His Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son He created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and He sustains everything by the mighty power of His command. When He had cleansed us from our sins, He sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave Him is greater than their names. ~ Hebrews 1:1-4 —  NLT ~

Image Credit: The Gaslamp Post
Image Credit:
The Gaslamp Post

Many people in this world call upon the angels to help them. Many call upon gods created in the minds of men. Many others call upon idols created by the hands of man. And yet, there is one God and Creator of the heavens and the earth, and all that is in them. There is only one God and Creator of mankind and only one way to reach Him…

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.” ~ John 14:6 — NLT ~

Why would someone call on anyone else for help? In my darkest hour, in those times when I am desperate for help, I want to be sure that I cry out to the One who can help me…

You see, the angels have to answer to God, so why would I go to them first, when He is the One who must give them permission to help me? For you see, it is Christ who created the angels, and not only did He create them, but they were created for His purpose…

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 seesuch as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through Him and for Him. ~ Colossians 1:15-16 — NLT ~

20 Praise the Lord, you angels, you mighty ones who carry out His plans, listening for each of His commands. 21 Yes, praise the Lord, you armies of angels who serve Him and do His will~ Psalm 103:20-21 — NLT ~

You see, beloved readers, the scriptures make it very clear that the angels were created to serve God and to carry out His plans. Therefore, if I choose to worship the angels, and seek their help, rather than His, my cries for help will be fruitless. For His holy angels cannot act on my behalf, apart from His will, and the fallen angels, who serve Satan, desire to steal, kill and destroy all of mankind. Therefore, to call on any other name, other than Jesus, whose name is far greater than the angels would be foolish.

This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave Him is greater than their names. ~ Hebrews 1:4 — NLT ~

There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.  ~ Acts 4:12 — NLT ~

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 under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ~ Philippians 2:9-11 — NLT ~

You see my friends, when we need help and when we need salvation, to call on the angels would be foolhardy, because the only way to get any help at all is to cry out to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. For there is salvation in no one else. Indeed, the only way to God the Father is through Christ, and at His name, every knee will one day bow. That means that every angel, and even every demon will one day bow to Him. Even Satan, His enemy will bow down to Him one day…

So, in those times when we are weak, call upon Jesus, who is high above all else. In those times of dismay, cry out to Him for salvation. In those times of great joy and triumph, bow down to the Almighty God, and give Him praise and glory in Jesus’ name, for He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, and He is far greater than the angels, and His name is far above their names!

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

My Redeemer Lives! ~ Hebrews 1:3

aboveThe Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and He sustains everything by the mighty power of His command. When He had cleansed us from our sins, He sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. ~ Hebrews 1:3 — NLT ~

In our last study on Hebrews 1:3, we discussed how Jesus sustains everything by the mighty power of His command.  I truly love how this study is  going. There is so much for us to glean and absorb from God’s word to us and to the Hebrews, and I’m truly excited about the timing of everything.

Doesn’t it seem appropriate that we are going to spend time studying the following part of Hebrews 1:3, at this time, when Christians everywhere are celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God?

… When He had cleansed us from our sins, He sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.

Think about it… All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God… There is no one righteous, no, not one… The wages of sin is death… 

god-so-loved-the-worldThe situation was grim. Mankind was lost and dying. Though it wasn’t created for man, the fact is that all of mankind was destined for hell. Though sin had separated all of mankind from God, in His mercy and His grace, God had a solution for mankind’s eternal problem…

… For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life… Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends… You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you…

woundedThere is no greater love than this. God loved us so much, that He willingly sacrificed His Son for our sins, and it is at this time of year, that we celebrate His great act of love on our behalf. And Jesus could have refused to die for us, but He didn’t. Instead, He chose to suffer on your behalf and mine…

1 Who has believed our message? To whom has the Lord revealed His powerful arm? 2 My Servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in a dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about His appearance, nothing to attract us to Him. 3 He was despised and rejected — a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on Him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. 

4 Yet it was our weaknesses He carried; it was our sorrows that weighed Him down. And we thought His troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for His own sins! 5 But He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. 6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on Him the sins of us all.

7 He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet He never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, He did not open His mouth. 8 Unjustly condemned, He was led away. No one cared that He died without descendants, that His life was cut short in midstream. But He was struck down for the rebellion of my people. 9 He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But He was buried like a criminal; He was put in a rich man’s grave. 

10 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush Him and cause Him grief. Yet when His life is made an offering for sin, He will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in His hands. 11 When He sees all that is accomplished by His anguish, He will be satisfied. And because of His experience, My Righteous Servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for He will bear all their sins. 12 I will give Him the honors of a victorious soldier, because He exposed Himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels. ~ Isaiah 53 — NLT ~

… When He had cleansed us from our sins, He sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven~ Hebrews 1:3 — NLT ~

After Jesus suffered and died to pay for your sins and mine, He descended into hell…

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~ 1 Peter 3:18-20 — NLT ~

deathThe scriptures also tell us that everyone must die, and after that, face judgment, just as Jesus did, but here is the good news. Though Jesus died for your sins and mine, He arose from the dead!

27 And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, 28 so also Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for Him. ~ Hebrews 9:27-28 — NLT ~

Beloved readers, we are so blessed. For when Jesus rose up from the dead, He didn’t stop working on our behalf. Indeed, this  is why believers throughout the world celebrate Christ’s resurrection every year at this time…

1 “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in Me. 2 There is more than enough room in My Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with Me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.” ~ John 14:1-4 — NLT ~

Therefore He is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through Him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf. ~ Hebrews 7:25 — NLT ~

Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and He is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. ~ Romans 8:34 — NLT ~

Isn’t it comforting to know that Jesus is sitting beside God right now, on His right side, in the place of honor, interceding for you and me?  There is no better or more able to defend us than Christ, the holy Son of God!

As we prepare to celebrate the life, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, this weekend, let’s reflect on this…

The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and He sustains everything by the mighty power of His command. When He had cleansed us from our sins, He sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. ~ Hebrews 1:3 — NLT ~

Beloved readers, as we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior, let us not forget to give thanks to Him for sacrificing His one and only Son so that you and I could live…

Heavenly Father, thank You so much for the gift of Your Son Jesus. Thank You Lord, for sacrificing Him for my sake, and thank You for raising Him up from the dead, so that He could prepare a place for me to live, 

And Lord Jesus, thank You for stepping in when I sin and fail God, and for pleading and interceding with Him on my behalf, because if You are for me, who could be against me. 

Thank You, Lord for the great love that You lavish on me, and forgive me for sinning against You.  In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

All Things Upheld By the Word of His Power ~ Hebrews 1:3

Image Credit: ubdavid.org
Image Credit:
ubdavid.org

The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and He sustains everything by the mighty power of His command. When He had cleansed us from our sins, He sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. ~ Hebrews 1:3 — NLT ~

Greetings beloved readers! I don’t know about you, but God is ministering to me through this study of His word. In our last study, we discovered that Jesus is the very image of God, possessing His character as well. We discovered that Jesus has the same exact mindset as God, our heavenly Father does, and that we are to have the same mindset as Christ. In closing, I cited Romans 8:17, and asked, As a child of Almighty God, and a joint heir with Christ, are we really willing to do what Paul said in Romans 8:17? And if we’re not, are we willing, to begin praying for God to give us this same mindset that Jesus, and all of His disciples (except for Judas Iscariot) had?”

Image Credit: Voice of the Martyrs
Image Credit:
Voice of the Martyrs

Did you ask yourself if you are willing to share in Jesus’ suffering? For indeed, we must be willing to share in His suffering if we are to share in His glory. Sadly, much of the church (here in America at any rate), wants to share in the glory and skip the suffering, as if that is an option, when in reality, it isn’t. Jesus even warned us, before His arrest and crucifixion, that we would suffer, so if anyone tries to tell you that as a child of God, you won’t go through trials like everyone else, remember these words of Jesus…

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. ~ John 16:33 — NLT ~

Image Credit: Columna Bites of Wisdom
Image Credit:
Columna Bites of Wisdom

Now, we’re ready to move on to the next part of our study in Hebrews… and YES, we’re still studying Hebrews 1:3. There is so much for us to feast on in this one verse, as we study God’s word line by line and precept upon precept…

The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and He sustains everything by the mighty power of His command. When He had cleansed us from our sins, He sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. ~ Hebrews 1:3 — NLT ~

Image Credit: Real Jesus Ministries, Inc.
Image Credit:
Real Jesus Ministries, Inc.

Today, in this post, we’re going to study how Jesus sustains everything by the mighty power of His command. When I said we are going to study Hebrews line by line and precept upon precept, I meant exactly that. Therefore, in order for us to accomplish this, let’s look at this verse in the New American Standard Bible (NASB).

When looking for the original Greek words (for the New Testament) or Hebrew words (for the Old Testament) that were translated into the many different versions of the Bible that we are blessed with today, you usually do so by referring to either the King James Version (KJV) or the NASB. I personally prefer the NASB over the KJV, simply because people no longer speak King James English, whereas, we (Americans especially) do speak the language of the NASB. Therefore, let’s look at this verse in the NASB…

And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high… ~ Hebrews 1:3 — NASB ~

Let’s begin by looking at the Greek word and definition for upholds:

Upholds = pherō

I.         to carry

A.     to carry some burden

i.     to bear with one’s self

B.     to move by bearing; move or, to be conveyed or borne,                         with the suggestion of force or speed

i.     of persons borne in a ship over the sea
ii.    of a gust of wind, to rush
iii.   of the mind, to be moved inwardly, prompted

C.     to bear up i.e. uphold (keep from falling)

i.     of Christ, the preserver of the universe

II.       to bear, i.e. endure, to endure the rigor of a thing, to bear                              patiently one’s conduct, or spare one (abstain from punishing                    or destroying)

III.   to bring, bring to, bring forward

A.     to move to, apply
B.     to bring in by announcing, to announce
C.     to bear i.e. bring forth, produce; to bring forward in a                             speech
D.     to lead, conduct

And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high… ~ Hebrews 1:3 — NASB ~

Next, we will look at the Greek word and definition for all things:

All Things = pas

I.     individually

A.     each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things,                              everything

And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high… ~ Hebrews 1:3 — NASB ~

As we continue to search the original meaning of this passage, by looking for the Greek words and definitions, from which this scripture was translated, we will look at the Greek word and definition for by the word:

By the Word = rhēma

I.     that which is or has been uttered by the living voice, thing spoken,           word

A.     any sound produced by the voice and having definite                            meaning
B.     speech, discourse

i.     what one has said

C.     a series of words joined together into a sentence (a                                declaration of one’s mind made in words)

i.     an utterance
ii.    a saying of any sort as a message, a narrative

a.     concerning some occurrence

II.    subject matter of speech, thing spoken of

A.     so far forth as it is a matter of narration
B.     so far as it is a matter of command
C.     a matter of dispute, case at law

And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high… ~ Hebrews 1:3 — NASB ~

The final word that we are going to research for today’s study is power:

Power = dynamis

I.     strength power, ability

A.     inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its                      nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth
B.     power for performing miracles
C.     moral power and excellence of soul
D.     the power and influence which belong to riches and wealth
E.     power and resources arising from numbers
F.     power consisting in or resting upon armies, forces, hosts

And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high… ~ Hebrews 1:3 — NASB ~

Now that we know the Greek words and their definitions, let’s put it together so that we can have a thorough knowledge of what this portion of Hebrews 1:3 means to us…

Image Credit: Darrell Creswell
Image Credit:
Darrell Creswell

This portion of Hebrews 1:3 tells us that Jesus upholds (to carry, to carry some burden,  to bear with one’s self, to bear up i.e. uphold [keep from falling], of Christ, the preserver of the universe) all things (each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything) by the word (that which is or has been uttered by the living voice, thing spoken, word, any sound produced by the voice and having definite meaning, an utterance, a saying of any sort as a message, a narrative, so far as it is a matter of command) of His power (strength power, ability, inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth, power for performing miracles, moral power and excellence of soul).

Image Credit: Obtaining God's Blessings
Image Credit:
Obtaining God’s Blessings

Beloved readers, what this means is that Jesus holds everything together.  Think about this scientifically. As far as anyone has been able to determine, our world is the only planet on which there is intelligent life (or life of any kind for that matter!). Not only that, if you were to fly to the moon or some other planet, special space suits must be worn, in order to prevent you from drifting away into space, and also in order to maintain life. However, here on earth, there is something (we call it gravity) that sustains or lives… Here, and here alone out of all the planets that we are aware of, is there the correct amount of oxygen that enables us to live. It is also only here on earth, that there is that gravitational pull, which keeps us from imploding, exploding, dissolving or floating away, and also holds everything together…

One of the things that I love about the Bible (Actually, there are many things I love about it!) is the fact that it was written by people  thousands of years ago (Under the inspiration of Holy Spirit), who did not have access to the scientific knowledge that the people of this generation have, and yet, there are many profound scientific facts contained therein…  For example, at a time in history, when everyone else believed that the earth was flat, the God-breathed scriptures described the earth as round — thousands of years before man discovered this to be true…

He has inscribed a circle on the surface of the waters at the boundary of light and darkness. ~ Job 26:10 — NASB ~

21 Haven’t you heard? Don’t you understand? Are you deaf to the words of God— the words He gave before the world began? Are you so ignorant? 22 God sits above the circle of the earth. The people below seem like grasshoppers to Him! He spreads out the heavens like a curtain and makes His tent from them. ~ Isaiah 40:21-22 — NLT ~

This scripture makes it clear that it is Jesus who holds the world together. How powerful is that?  Think about it the next time you are outside, as you look at the sky, the sun, the moon and the stars. Think about it as you look at the trees and the grass, the flowers and the weeds.

Think about the fact that Jesus holds all of creation together, the next time you look in the mirror. Think about it the next time you look at your beloved. Think about the fact that He holds us together the next time you look at your children…

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. 17 He existed before anything else, and He holds all creation together. ~ Colossians 1:15-17 — NLT ~

God says, “At the time I have planned, I will bring justice against the wicked. When the earth quakes and its people live in turmoil, I am the one who keeps its foundations firm. ~ Psalm 75:2-3 — NLT ~

As we look at the world around us and the people within it, remember that it was Christ Jesus who was in the beginning with God, creating the heavens and the earth and all that is therein. You see, He is the One who has given us life. He is the One who sustains our lives, and it is He who gives life to those whom we love.

24 “He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since He is Lord of heaven and earth, He doesn’t live in man-made temples, 25 and human hands can’t serve His needs—for He has no needs. He Himself gives life and breath to everything, and He satisfies every need. 26 From one man He created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and He determined their boundaries.

27 “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him—though He is not far from any one of us. 28 For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are His offspring.’ 29 And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone.

30 “God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now He commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to Him. 31 For He has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man He has appointed, and He proved to everyone who this is by raising Him from the dead.” ~ Acts 17:24-31 — NLT ~

Going forth from today’s study, look at the world around you and the people around you. Take notice of the beauty of God’s creation. Even in the midst of a fallen creation, there are still glimpses of the original beauty, if we look at the world and the people therein through the eyes of Christ. Therefore, let this be your prayer until our next study…

Father, thank You for Christ who holds all of creation together. We thank You Lord that in You, we live and move and have our being. Father, please give us the heart to look at and see creation, and every man, woman and child therein through Your eyes. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

God Speaks ~ Hebrews 1:1-4

Image Credit: Grace Church The Blog
Image Credit:
Grace Church The Blog

1 Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. 2 And now in these final days, He has spoken to us through His Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son He created the universe. 3 The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and He sustains everything by the mighty power of His command. When He had cleansed us from our sins, He sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. 4 This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave Him is greater than their names. ~ Hebrews 1:1-4 — NLT ~

Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. Enoch walked in close fellowship with God, until He took him… God spoke  to Noah and told him to build an ark… God spoke to Abraham when He appeared before him as an angel of the Lord, promising to bless all of mankind through his Seed… He spoke to Moses through the fire of a burning bush, then later, He spoke to him audibly… God spoke to Joshua, encouraging him to “Be strong and courageous…” He spoke to each of the judges who were willing to listen to Him… He spoke to Samuel in the night, calling him by name, “Samuel! Samuel!”… He spoke to King David and to King Solomon… He spoke to Elijah in a still small voice…

I could go on and on, but you get the picture. God used to speak to His people through the prophets, but when Christ came, things changed. Now, He speaks to us through His Son, Jesus. Think about this, God speaks through the One who created the universe with Him…

Image Credit: Biblical Truth
Image Credit:
Biblical Truth

1 In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He existed in the beginning with God. 3 God created everything through Him, and nothing was created except through Him. 4 The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought light to everyone. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. ~ John 1:1-5 — NLT ~

Beloved readers, do you get it? God speaks to us through the Word! He speaks to us through His Word! He, who spoke all of creation into existence… He who spoke our lives into existence, also speaks to us through His Son, the Word of God… He speaks to us through Christ, who “… radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God…” He speaks to us through Jesus, who “… expresses the very character of God…” God now speaks to us through His Son, “… who sustains everything by the mighty power of His command…”

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. 17 He existed before anything else, and He holds all creation together. ~ Colossians 1:15-17 — NLT ~

Image Credit: RayNoah
Image Credit:
RayNoah

How amazing and how wonderful that the God of the universe, the Holy One of Israel speaks to us through His Son and Heir, Jesus Christ, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords! What an honor this is! It used to be that He only spoke to prophets, but now, beloved readers, He speaks through His Son Jesus to ordinary people like you and me! Imagine, hearing the voice of God Almighty as He speaks to us through His Son!

“Oh,” some may say, “I’ve never heard God speak to me.” But according to His Word, He does speak to through His Son. Could it be that those who don’t hear Him speak simply don’t recognize His voice? Let’s see what God’s Son has to say about this…

2 “But He who enters by the door is the Shepherd of the sheep. 3 To Him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear His voice; and He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 And when He brings out His own sheep, He goes before them; and the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice. 5 Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” ~ John 10:2-5 — NKJV ~

Image Credit: Fr Ed's Place
Image Credit:
Fr Ed’s Place

Do you see, beloved readers? If you are a child of God, (a.k.a. – a part of the Good Shepherd’s {Jesus’} flock) then when He speaks, you will recognize His voice. Indeed, He will call you by name, just as God called the prophet Samuel so many years ago, just as a shepherd calls his sheep. For Christ Jesus is our Good Shepherd, and He calls us by our name, and when He speaks to us, if we are truly one of His sheep, the Spirit within us compels us to follow Him and obey Him.

For you see, beloved reader, when Christ “… cleansed us from our sins, He sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven…” This same Jesus, through whom God speaks to regular people like you and me, now sits at the right hand of Almighty God in heaven, reigning and ruling with His Father. Isn’t it wonderful and amazing to know that this same Jesus, who is far greater than the angels, and whose name is above all other names, would speak to someone such as you or me?

There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. ~ Acts 4:12 — NLT ~

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 confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ~ Philippians 2:9-11 — NLT ~

After reading all of this, what can we conclude from our study of the first four verses of Hebrews 1? 

    1. We can know that although God used to speak to us through the prophets, He now speaks to us through His Son, Jesus.
    2. We know that Jesus is heir to everything, according to God’s promise.
    3. We know that God created the universe through His Son, Jesus.
    4. We know that Jesus radiates God’s own glory.
    5. We know that the Son of God reveals the very character of God.
    6. We also know that Christ sustains everything by the mighty power of His command. 
    7. We know that after Jesus cleansed us from our sins, He sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.
    8. We know that God’s Son is far greater than the angels.
    9. And finally, we learned that Jesus’ name, given to Him by God, is far greater than any other name in heaven, on the earth below, under the seas, under the earth, or anywhere else in the universe!

Hallelujah! Isn’t it amazing how much we learned about the Lord and how He speaks to us in just four verses? I can’t wait to continue with the next part! 

Please bear with me, because I’m not sure how much writing I’m going to be able to do in the next few weeks, as my daughter-in-law (I will refer to her as my daughter from hereon, because that is what she is to me.) just had brain surgery, and I’m going to help care for six of my grandchildren. For those of you who have faith that our awesome and wonderful God and Father hears our prayers and answers them, I ask you to please pray for my son, daughter and children.  

Please pray that my daughter heals quickly, and completely, and that she would know just how precious she is to her husband (my son), my husband and me, and everyone who knows her. Pray also that my grandchildren feel God’s love for them, and that they would see how awesome and mighty He is, as He heals their mommy. Please also pray for peace within their home, because this is such a difficult time for all involved, and we all know how the enemy likes to attack when everyone is at their weakest point…

Thank you to each and every one of you for your prayers and for your patience, as my posts for this Bible study will be worked around my beautiful grandchildren’s schedules, and you can imagine how busy my husband and I will be as we help care for those precious children!

Again, thank you and may God bless each one of you!

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Hebrews Bible Study ~ Introduction

Image Credit: Latter Days Ministry (Not LDS or Mormons)
Image Credit:
Latter Days Ministry
(Not LDS or Mormons)

1 Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. 2 And now in these final days, He has spoken to us through His Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son He created the universe. ~ Hebrews 1:1-2 — NLT ~

I love studying the Word of God, and the book of Hebrews is filled with so much wisdom. During my  study of the Law, I was going to start in one of the later chapters of Hebrews, but the problem I ran into was that as I began to study that chapter, I felt the need to back up to the previous chapter, in order to keep what I was studying in the proper context. Then, when I went further back, I felt the Spirit stirring within me, urging me to start from the beginning of Hebrews. Therefore, beginning with this post, I’m going to study the book of Hebrews, and I’d like to invite you, my beloved readers to join me as we embark on a new adventure into the Word of God…

Image Credit: morninghope.com
Image Credit:
morninghope.com

Many people believe that Paul was the author of the book of Hebrews, but the fact is that no one really knows for sure who the author was, because unlike Paul’s other epistles, Hebrews does not begin with Paul’s usual salutations…

1 This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach His Good News. 2 God promised this Good News long ago through His prophets in the holy Scriptures… ~ Romans 1:1-2 — NLT ~
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1 This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Sosthenes.

2 I am writing to God’s church in Corinth, to you who have been called by God to be His own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus, just as He did for all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours. ~ 1 Corinthians 1:1-2 — NLT ~
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1 This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy.

I am writing to God’s church in Corinth and to all of His holy people throughout Greece.

2 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:1-2 — NLT ~
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1 This letter is from Paul, an apostle. I was not appointed by any group of people or any human authority, but by Jesus Christ Himself and by God the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead.

2 All the brothers and sisters here join me in sending this letter to the churches of Galatia.~ Galatians 1:1-2 — NLT ~
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1 Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. 2 And now in these final days, He has spoken to us through His Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son He created the universe. ~ Hebrews 1:1-2 — NLT ~

Every single book that is known to have been written by the Apostle Paul for sure,  begins with a salutation introducing himself, whereas the book of Hebrews does not. While this doesn’t definitively prove that Paul was not the author of Hebrews, it does seem very unlikely that he did write it.  It’s really not important who the human author of the book is. What’s important for everyone to know is that the book of Hebrews, like all other books of the bible, was written under the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. ~ 2 Timothy 3:16 — NLT ~

Image Credit: Lakeview Chapel
Image Credit:
Lakeview Chapel

Now that we are armed with the knowledge that no matter who the human author was, we are assured that God inspired the book of Hebrews, let us move on to discover who this book was written for and why it was written…

Judging the book by its content, it appears that Hebrews was written to Jewish believers, as there are many references to the Torah. Also, judging by what is contained within this book, it was written to warn the Jewish believers not to fall away from Christ. Of course, since all Scripture is God-breathed, and therefore living and active, it can also be taken as a warning to all believers (both Jews and Gentiles) to remain faithful to God.

There is one final thing for me to cover in this introduction to our Hebrews Bible Study… When studying the Word of God, I usually like to try and answer the “5 W’s”… 

    1. Who We’ve answered this question by discovering that although we are unsure of who wrote the book of Hebrews, we do know that it was originally written to Jewish believers, since there were many references to the Torah. 
      • We can also deduce that although Hebrews was originally written to Jewish believers, it is equally important to all believers.
    2. What — We know that we are studying the book of Hebrews, which is a part of the Word of God.
    3. When — We  know that the book of Hebrews was written before 95 A.D., because Clement of Rome quoted from the book of Hebrews in 95 A.D.
    4. Where Although it is not known where the book of Hebrews was written, it is thought that it was written to Jewish believers in Jerusalem, though there is now no concrete evidence to support this supposition.
    5. Why  As I stated earlier, it is thought that the book of Hebrews was written for Jewish believers who were in danger of turning away from their faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ. Though it may have been the author’s intent to write this letter as a means of warning Jewish believers, it is obvious that God intended this book to minister to many more, as Hebrews has become one of the foundational books used to teach and minister to all believers, both Jews and Gentiles.

As we join together, digging into this book, we’ll discover a wealth of wisdom and instruction, as well as the warnings therein. Therefore, please be sure to join me the next time, as we begin studying the book of Hebrews, starting with the first four verses. Until then, I pray that the Lord will bless you and keep you. May He make His face to shine upon you and give you peace. May God be gracious as He lets the light of His countenance give you peace, in Jesus’ name.

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Traditions of Men – T.A.Sparks

Holy SpiritThis is a powerful post and therefore it must be read and shared by those men and women of God who no longer want to quench His Holy Spirit. Rather, let us begin to loose the Holy Spirit, so that He can guide us in truth and love… Blessings!

A Call To The Remnant

Below is an article be T.A.Sparks. It speaks to the traditions of men. God is raising up a generation of believers in these last days that seek to move in the freedom of the Holy Spirit where Jesus is preeminent. Conditions will be such that men will not be able to control and organize yet one more denomination. He will bind us together and He will use circumstances to fulfill His will for unity in the Body and freedom of the Spirit. The walls that have formed denominations have been used to create prisons that seek to confine and restrict the work of the Holy Spirit…………bro Frank

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