Tag Archives: instruction

Do You Mourn? Be Comforted…

Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.  (Matthew 5:4 NKJV)

Are you grieving?  Has your heart been broken?  Do you long for the pain to stop?  Take heart, beloved, for the Lord of all mercy hears your cries.  He knows your pain.  Indeed, He has suffered your pain, and He promises that we who mourn are blessed, and that we will be comforted…

14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.  (Hebrews 4:14-16  NLT)

Jesus knew what it was to grieve and mourn.  He mourned the death of His cousin, John the Baptist…  He mourned the death of His friend Lazarus…  He mourned for those of us who were lost in sin, pain and suffering…

Who has believed our message?
To whom has the Lord revealed His powerful arm?
My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot,
like a root in dry ground.
There was nothing beautiful or majestic about His appearance,
nothing to attract us to Him.
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.

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!
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.
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.

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.
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.
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)

mourn-sorrow

Beloved reader, you do not suffer alone.  He knows your pain.  He has suffered for it and from it, and He offers His comfort to all who would receive it.  Are you thirsty?  Are you weary?  Are you worn out from trying to carry the burdens of life by yourself?

28 Then Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30 NLT)

Beloved reader, if you are in the midst of grief, come, drink from the fountain of life.  Seek Jesus, our great Savior and Comforter.

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7 NKJV)

In His first recorded sermon, Jesus tells us that those who mourn are blessed, and they shall be comforted.  It’s also interesting to note that His first scripture reading in the synagogue, after He had been in the wilderness for 40 days, also dealt with the brokenhearted…

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon Me,
for the Lord has anointed Me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent Me to comfort the brokenhearted
and to proclaim that captives will be released
and prisoners will be freed.
He has sent Me to tell those who mourn
that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,
and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel,
He will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for His own glory.  (Isaiah 61:1-3 NLT)

Beloved, you  are not alone in your suffering.  If you will seek the Lord with all your heart, He will comfort you…  Shalom.  Peace be with you.

© 2019
Cheryl A. Showers

Overview of Ephesians

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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

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 ~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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 ~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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 ~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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 ~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

It’s a Matter of Faith — Little Faith

Image Credit: Darrel Tank
Image Credit:
Darrel Tank

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: James Seward
Image Credit:
James Seward

This is one of my favorite scripture passages. I love reading how Jesus arises in the midst of the storm and rebukes the wind and the waves, telling them, “Peace! Be still!” It blesses me to think that He cared enough about the disciples to calm the storm that was raging all about them, and it makes me wonder, does He love me enough to calm the storms in my life? Does He love you enough to calm the storms in your life?

Image Credit: devotions4misfits.wordpress.com
Image Credit:
devotions4misfits.wordpress.com

To believe in the possibility that Jesus loves me, knowing that He knows my every thought and every secret deed requires faith. And sometimes, I just don’t know if my faith is strong enough. Now, when it comes to believing that He loves you or someone else, I have great faith. When it comes to believing that God will step in and move on your behalf, I have no problem.

You see, it is easy to have faith in God for someone else, but it is another thing to have faith in God for yourself. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I love this story so much, because in it, I can see that I’m not that much different than the disciples who walked with Jesus everyday, and knew Him physically, as well as spiritually.

Although they knew Jesus intimately and actually saw Him work miracles, signs and wonders, their faith was still small. They had seen Him work wonders in the lives of others, but could He or would He work on their behalf? They were afraid to believe that He would, and sadly, I understand that fear.

Image Credit: NancyPH Lord of the Arts wetcanvas.com
Image Credit:
NancyPH Lord of the Arts
wetcanvas.com

You see, it began when I was a child. I can remember not doing my homework and then praying for a blizzard, so that I could stay home from school and get my work done, and I really had great faith that He would come through for me, but He never did. I didn’t understand it. Why didn’t God answer my prayers, when He knew that my parents would beat me and curse me? Was it because I was so bad, and I just wasn’t worthy of His love? At the time, this was the only answer that made sense to me. After all, He knew the things that I had done, and even worse, He knew the things that I thought. Have you ever felt like that?

The sad thing is that we don’t always outgrow those childhood disappointments, and they can hinder us as we get older. I grew up believing that God helps others, (just as the disciples probably thought), but not someone like me, until the storms in life began to batter me. Have  you been battered by the storms in life? Have you longed for the Savior to rebuke the wind and the waves in your life?

Image Credit: Bimartins.deviantart.com
Image Credit:
Bimartins.deviantart.com

If so, we must do as the disciples did. They shamelessly cried out to Jesus, while He slept peacefully. As they wakened Him, the disciples shouted, “Teacher, don’t You care that we’re going to drown?” Isn’t that what we all want to know? My life is falling apart, and the storms keep on raging against me, and Jesus, do You really care about me?

Now, let’s look at how Jesus responded to His panicked disciples…

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. ~ Matthew 8:26 — NLT ~

Image Credit: covenantcrabco.com
Image Credit:
covenantcrabco.com

The scriptures show no indication that Jesus was angry with His frightened disciples. Instead, He takes the time to answer them, before calming the wind and the waves. “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Now, pay attention! After telling them that they had little faith, Jesus still got up and rebuked the wind and the waves, thereby causing a great calm. Do you see that,  beloved reader? Even though their faith was small, He still answered their prayer, and calmed the storm.

Image Credit: Darrell Creswell
Image Credit:
Darrell Creswell

How does your faith measure? Is it little faith, or great faith? If it is just little faith, can you still believe that Jesus loves you, and that when you delight yourself in Him, He will give you the desires of your heart? Beloved readers, Jesus loves us far more than we know, and if you are willing to admit that you have little faith, and ask Him to increase your faith, He will! Remember the father of the demon possessed boy…

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 9:21-24 — NLT ~

Image Credit: The Writer's Pen
Image Credit:
The Writer’s Pen

You know that Jesus saw the pain in that man’s eyes, and he heard it in the man’s voice as he cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” Friends, I understand what that man was saying. “I believe, but help me Lord, because I believe for others, but not for me and mine. Lord, please help me overcome my unbelief!”

And Jesus’ response to this man’s plea? It was the same as His response to the disciples. Jesus heard the cry of his heart, and He healed the man’s son, thereby helping him to overcome his unbelief. For the disciples, He calmed the wind and the waves. He did it for their sake, to increase their little faith.

So, what do we do when our faith is little? We cry out to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith and…

looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. ~ Hebrews 12:2 — NLT ~

Image Credit: Faith MySpace Layouts
Image Credit:
Faith MySpace Layouts

Do you see that? Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. The author of a book is the one who writes the book, creates the characters and endows them with their various abilities, and it is the same with the author of our faith. It is He who created each one of us, and it is He who gives us our various gifts and abilities. Therefore, if Jesus is the author of our faith, then He is the One who gave us our faith to start with, and it is He who finishes our faith. Therefore, if I cry out to Him to increase my faith, since that is His will for you and me, will He not honor that request? Of course He will.

Image Credit: Designs by God
Image Credit:
Designs by God

Do you have little faith? Then do as the father of the boy did, and do as I do. Ask Jesus to help you overcome your unbelief… And one more thing, when you read God’s word, read it out loud, so that you can hear the words as they are spoken. Memorize His word, so that you can speak it to yourself and to others…

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God~ Romans 10:17 — NKJV ~

If you want your little faith to grow, cry out to Jesus and speak and listen to God’s word, because faith comes from hearing the word of God. By crying out to Jesus, you are crying out to the Word of God, to increase your faith. And by reading and speaking His word out loud, you are speaking the words of the author and finisher of your faith — the One who is writing your existence and your faith, and by doing so, your little faith will grow… Amen.

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

It’s a Matter of Faith – Saving Faith

Image Credit: souldreamers.tumblr.com
Image Credit:
souldreamers.tumblr.com

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him. ~ Hebrews 11:6 — NLT ~

Did you know that it doesn’t matter how many good deeds you do, or how kind you are, if you don’t have faith, you cannot please God? It doesn’t matter how generous you are, if you don’t have faith, it is impossible for you to please God. Oh, and one more thing — if you have faith in the wrong thing, it is impossible for you to please God.

Image Credit: onlyamustardseed.blogspot.com
Image Credit:
onlyamustardseed.blogspot.com

For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. ~ John 3:16 — NLT ~

You see, the scriptures are very clear about Who you must believe in, if you want to be saved… Do you believe in God? Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Do you believe that Jesus suffered, bled and died to pay for the sins of all mankind? Do you believe that after being in the grave for three days, Jesus rose from the dead?

Image Credit: enyonamsdailydevotions.blogspot.com
Image Credit:
enyonamsdailydevotions.blogspot.com

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 ~

9 If you confess with your mouth 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 confessing with your mouth that you are saved. ~ Romans 10:9-10 — NLT ~

Do you ever wonder why some people have faith in God, and some don’t? Why is it, that there are some Christians who have willingly laid down their lives for Christ? Where does such faith come from?

Image Credit: recados18.com
Image Credit:
recados18.com

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. ~ Ephesians 2:8-9 — NLT ~

Faith in Christ is a gift from God. Those of us, who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God, don’t believe because we know something that no one else knows. We don’t believe because we’re fools who blindly believe in anything. The men and women, whose very lives center around Christ, believe because we have received the gift of saving faith, and those who do not have that faith have refused to accept the gift that God, in His great mercy and love, offers to everyone.

16 “For God loved the world so much that 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 ~

Image Credit: biblicalproof.wordpress.com
Image Credit:
biblicalproof.wordpress.com

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 ~

You see, beloved reader, each and everyone of us, since the beginning of time, has been offered the gift of eternal life at no cost to us. It is a free gift, paid in full, by Jesus Christ, when He suffered, bled and died on the cross to pay for your sins and mine. And not only is the free gift of eternal life offered to each and everyone of us, but also, the gift of faith to believe that this is true. (Remember, that is is by grace we are saved through faith, and that is not of ourselves, it is a gift from God.) 

Therefore, those of us who love the Lord with all of our hearts, do so because He has given us the faith to love Him and believe that Jesus Christ is His Son. However, those who read this and do not love the Lord, do so because they have refused the gift of faith that has been offered to all.

Many times, I’ve seen people respond in anger when they are told that if you don’t accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then you cannot enter the gates of heaven. Indeed, you will never even see those gates. Those who refuse to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior will burn in hell, and this is not God’s fault, nor is it His will.

The Lord isn’t really being slow about His promise, as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. ~ 2 Peter 3:9 — NLT ~

You see, though the gift has been offered to all, only those who accept and receive the gift are saved. If you refuse to accept the gift of saving faith that has been offered to you, it is your choice, not God’s

Image Credit: insidetheshrink-dailygrace.blogspot.com
Image Credit:
insidetheshrink-dailygrace.blogspot.com

And now, beloved reader, by reading this post, you have once again been offered the gift of faith that saves you, and as with any gift, you have a choice to make. Therefore, in closing, I’ll leave you with the words that Moses spoke to the men and women of Israel, when they were about to enter the Promised Land. For those words are still appropriate today, as every man, woman and child, who is able to, must make this choice. Do you want eternal life or eternal damnation? The choice is yours…

19 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! 20 You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying Him, and committing yourself firmly to Him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” ~ Deuteronomy 30:19-20 — NLT ~

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

Tongues of Men and of Angels

Daily Post: Take That, Rosetta!

by Ben Huberman on February 10, 2014

If you could wake up tomorrow and be fluent in any language you don’t currently speak, which would it be? Why? What’s the first thing you do with your new linguistic skills?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us TONGUE.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. 
~ 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 — NASB ~

Image Credit: getacoder.com
Image Credit:
getacoder.com

If I could wake up tomorrow with the ability to speak any language that I am not currently able to speak, I would want to speak in the one universal language that is understood by every human being — the language of love. Although each of us is born with the capacity to understand this language, sadly, we aren’t born with the ability to speak it. Indeed, very few people ever truly learn the language, and though we were born with the ability to understand love, by the time we reach adulthood, most people have a distorted view of what love is.

Before one can truly speak the language of love, he/she needs to understand exactly what love is. To gain an understanding of what love is, we first need to wipe the slate of our minds clean from the lies we’ve been led to believe from the time we were children. You see, love has nothing to do with the gifts people bestow upon you, although many have come to equate love with that. If love was about the presents given to us at Christmas, then those who are too poor to afford gifts would be unable to love, and that certainly isn’t true, now, is it?

Image Credit: easy4us.wordpress.com
Image Credit:
easy4us.wordpress.com

Love also has nothing to do with sex, although many people have given their bodies to others in the name of love. Now, I’m not saying that sex is evil, or that no one having sex loves his/her partner. What I am saying is that many people have sex without loving the person they are with. Those who pay for prostitutes feel no love for the person they are paying to have sex with them, and likewise, the prostitute feels no love for the person he/she is charging to have sex with  him/her. 

Also, there are people who move from one lover to another, over and over again. This is not love. Love is not a temporary or fleeting emotion, regardless of what you may have experienced or seen on television, or in your life, or the lives of others. This is what true love is…

4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 — NASB ~

Image Credit: truthforlife.org
Image Credit:
truthforlife.org

Love is patient. That means no matter how many times the person I love irritates me, I will still love that person. What’s more, because I love this person, I will learn to control my temper. Because I love someone, I will forgive him/her when they wrong me, calmly enduring any pain he/she may cause me. Because I love this person, I will strive to be understand him/her, and why he/she acts out in certain ways. This is an example of true love, but there is more…

Image Credit: QuotesDonkey.com
Image Credit:
QuotesDonkey.com

Love is kind and is not jealous. For every man or woman who has ever had a  jealous boyfriend or girlfriend or spouse, read those words again. Love is kind and is not jealous. If there is someone in your life who is jealous of other people who love you, understand this… jealousy is not love. And for those reading this post who are jealous of your significant other’s loved ones, I’ll say it again, jealousy is not love. Jealousy is not a proof of your love for someone, or their love for you. Jealousy is evil. Jealousy destroys relationships. Jealousy destroys people. Jealousy can kill.

Love is kind. To love someone is to be tenderhearted toward him/her. To love someone is to put that person before yourself. To love someone is to treat them the way you would like to be treated. Love is kind.

Image Credit: sandwichink.com
Image Credit:
sandwichink.com

Love does not brag and is not arrogant. Are you getting this? If someone claims to love you, and then puts you down, he/she does not love you. If someone says that he/she loves you, and treats you as anything less than his/her equal, then this person does not love you. If this person brags about him/herself, and thinks more of  him/herself than he/she thinks of you, this is not love. 

Love does not act unbecomingly. Love is not boastful or proud or rude. If someone treats you disrespectfully, this is not love. This bears repeating, because sadly, many people are confused about this. When someone treats you with disrespect, or as though you are less than him/her, no matter what they may claim, they are not acting in love.

Image Credit: kerenthrelfall.com
Image Credit:
kerenthrelfall.com

Love does not seek its own. Love does not seek its own way. When you love someone, do you have to have your own way? Are you willing to let the person you say you love have his/her own way? Or do you demand your own way? If you always demand your own way or the highway, then you do not love. If the person you are with always demands his/her own way, the he/she is not loving.

Love is not provoked. Is the person who claims to love you easily angered? Do you walk around on pins and needles because you fear angering this person? Are you  easily angered by the ones you say you love? Do others tread carefully when they are around you, fearful of your anger? If so, my friend, this is not how love acts. Remember, love is patient and kind.

Image Credit: DNA Connexions
Image Credit:
DNA Connexions

Love does not take into account a wrong suffered. Do you remember every wrong done to you by the person you say you love? When you and this person have a disagreement, do you throw other wrongdoings in their face, even though you say you’ve forgiven them? Love does not take into account a wrong suffered. True love forgives completely, and though it is very hard to forget, we must choose not to remember, if we truly love someone.

Image Credit: pinterest.com
Image Credit:
pinterest.com

Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. Now this is really difficult, because our human nature likes to see others get what’s coming to them. It’s very natural for us to want to see someone get the punishment they deserve, and yet, if we want to walk in love and if we want to speak the language of love, then we can’t rejoice in another person’s suffering, not even if they deserve it. We can and should rejoice when the truth comes out, this is good and right. But there’s a fine line between rejoicing in the truth and rejoicing in someone’s suffering. If someone commits a crime against you or someone you love, and that person is brought to trial and found guilty by the jury, rejoice because the truth came out, and this is good. BUT we must not rejoice because the person will now have to suffer for his/her crime. To truly love and speak the language of love is indeed difficult, which is why so many choose not to love, but the rewards of truly loving far outweigh the cost.

Image Credit: Christianbook.com
Image Credit:
Christianbook.com

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. To truly walk in love, means that we must bear all things… No matter how difficult it is to love someone, no matter how mean or contrary the person may be, if I want to speak the language of love, I must be willing to bear their abuse, believing and hoping that all things will work together for my good, because I love God and He has called me according to His purpose, and therefore, come what may, I will endure all things. The best example of true love that I can think of is the example Jesus gave us.

1 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from His love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. 3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. 

5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. 6 Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, 8 He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. 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 2:1-11 — NLT ~

Every word Jesus spoke, every breath He took, every glance He gave, was done in love. He alone, was able to speak the language of love fluently, without a flaw. In fact, it is only in His name that anyone is able to truly speak this language, which has very little to do with the words we speak, and everything to do with our actions. 

You ask me what language I would speak, and my answer is the ancient language of love. “Why?” you ask, and my answer is, “Because God first loved me, so I want to love Him and others, with that same love.” What is the first thing I would do with my new linguistic skills? I would seek the bitterest, most unlovable, hopeless person, and I would begin to demonstrate the love that Jesus gave me… the love that I described above. 

Lord, hear my prayer and let me love others as You love them, with the love that You have given me. Let me speak to them with the tongues of love. Let me demonstrate that love to them by being patient and kind to them. Help me not to be jealous or boastful or arrogant. And help me not to be rude or disrespectful to them. Father, help me not to seek my own way, rather, help me to submit to others. And Lord, help me not to be easily provoked or to take into account the wrongs others may do to me. And Father, please help me not to rejoice in unrighteousness, but instead, teach me to rejoice with the truth. Strengthen me and help me to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things and endure all things, just as Jesus did when He suffered and died on the cross for my sins. Lord, let my love for others never fail, just as Your love never fails, never gives up and never runs out on me. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

ה He (Behold!) Show Me Your Ways

Psalm 119:33-40

ה He

33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, And I shall keep it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.
35 Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, For I delight in it.
36 Incline my heart to Your testimonies, And not to covetousness.
37 Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, And revive me in Your way.
38 Establish Your word to Your servant, Who is devoted to fearing You.
39 Turn away my reproach which I dread, For Your judgments are good.
40 Behold, I long for Your precepts; Revive me in Your righteousness.

Image Credit: fisheaters.com
Image Credit:
fisheaters.com

Hallelujah! Psalm 119 is a beautiful, powerful psalm, which takes us through the Hebrew alphabet, from beginning to end, as it focuses on the statutes of the Lord. Psalm 119:33-40 begins with the Hebrew letter, ה He, which is the fifth letter of the Hebrew alphabet and means behold!

Therefore, as we begin to study this portion of scripture, behold! Look and see what God wants to show you in His  word… Let’s begin our study by looking at Psalm 119:33…

ה He

Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes,
And I shall keep it to the end.

~ Psalm 119:33 — NKJV ~

Image Credit: photo.neo6.com
Image Credit:
photo.neo6.com

This seems pretty straight forward, but it’s important for us to understand that the Hebrew language is different than the English language. Therefore, for us to truly understand what was being said when the Lord inspired it, let’s look at the Hebrew meaning for Psalm 119:33…

Beloved readers, behold! See what the Lord spoke to His people many years ago, and because His word is living and active, it continues to speak to us. Let’s really begin to dig into this scripture verse and behold what the Lord shows us…

The Hebrew word for “teach” in this scripture is yarah:

  1. to throw, shoot, cast, pour
    1. (Qal)
      1. to throw, cast
      2. to cast, lay, set
      3. to shoot arrows
      4. to throw water, rain
    2. (Niphal) to be shot
    3. (Hiphil)
      1. to throw, cast
      2. to shoot
      3. to point out, show
      4. to direct, teach, instruct
      5. to throw water, rain
Image Credit: freebibleimages.org
Image Credit:
freebibleimages.org

The word “teach” takes on a whole new meaning, when you see what the original Hebrew text was… Behold! Throw, cast, shoot, point out, show, direct, teach, instruct me… In this scripture, the writer is asking the Lord to cast him, shoot him, point out and show him. He’s asking the Lord to direct him, teach him and instruct him. 

Imagine this, as you’re praying to the Lord, you’re telling Him, “Behold! Lord, I’m an arrow in Your hand. Take me, Lord, and place me within Your bow, aim me and shoot me where you want me to go!” 

Do you see it? When we become as an arrow, we relinquish control. We are now at the Lord’s mercy, as He takes us from His quiver, places us on His bow and takes aim. He is the One who directs us, choosing where He will send us flying to. He is the One who pulls us back and shoots us in the direction we are to go. As you can see, this requires complete trust in the Lord, as an arrow does nothing on its own. 

Image Credit: thelongbowshop.com
Image Credit:
thelongbowshop.com

While in the quiver, the arrow rests quietly with the other arrows, waiting for its Owner to choose it. The arrow is not its own — it belongs to the Archer. Once chosen, the arrow rests in the hand of the Archer. The arrow has no say over where it is shot, or even how or why it is shot. It simply rests in the hand of the Archer, while He aims and points it in the direction it is to go, and then shoots it.

Are you willing to rest in the hands of your Archer? So often, our problems arise when we try too hard to do things, rather than simply resting in the hands of the Master, and allowing Him to aim us and shoot us where He wants us to go.

ה He

Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, And I shall keep it to the end.

Psalm 119:33 — NKJV ~

The Hebrew word for “way” in this scripture is derek:

  1. way, road, distance, journey, manner
    1. road, way, path
    2. journey
    3. direction..
    4. manner, habit, way
    5. of course of life (fig.)
    6. of moral character (fig.)

Now, remembering what it means when we say, “Teach me, O Lord,” let’s look at the “way” we are asking Him to teach us. As we rest in the Lord’s hands, we are asking Him to cast, shoot, direct and instruct us in the way, road, distance, journey, manner, path, direction, manner, habit, course of life and course of moral character that we should go. This is powerful. We’re not just asking for direction, we’re asking the Lord to cast us on the journey of our lives. We’re asking to be shot in the manner of our moral character. We’re asking the Lord to show and instruct us in our habits.

Image Credit: knowledghi.com
Image Credit:
knowledghi.com

Just think about this… When we ask the Lord to teach us, we’re asking Him to send us in a new direction — on a new way. We’re asking Him to send us on a course of life, to direct us in the way our moral character can be developed. We’re asking the Lord to shoot us toward new habits. It isn’t enough for us to read the scriptures, and then walk away with no change in our lives. We must seriously surrender to the Lord, rest in His hands, and ask Him to send us in the way that will change our moral character and the course of our lives as we develop new habits.

Isn’t it amazing how such a simple scripture can be so life-changing? As you continue to read and study this verse, make it your prayer to your heavenly Father…

ה He

Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, And I shall keep it to the end.

Psalm 119:33 — NKJV ~

The Hebrew word for “statutes” is choq:

  1. statute, ordinance, limit, something prescribed, due
    1. prescribed task
    2. prescribed portion
    3. action prescribed (for oneself), resolve
    4. prescribed due
    5. prescribed limit, boundary
    6. enactment, decree, ordinance
      1. specific decree
      2. law in general
    7. enactments, statutes
      1. conditions
      2. enactments
      3. decrees
      4. civil enactments prescribed by God

According to this definition, the statutes we are praying for are our limits, ordinances, prescribed tasks, prescribed portions, the actions prescribed for ourselves, our resolve, boundaries, decrees and enactments prescribed by God… Think about it this way — as we pray this prayer, we are asking the Lord, to choose us from among the other arrows in His quiver, while we rest in His hand. Then, as we rest in His hand, He places us on the bow, aims us, and shoots us on our journey that will change the course of our lives, as our moral character and habits are developed.

But how are these qualities developed? The Lord, casts us to our prescribed boundaries. He sets our limits before us as He casts us toward them so that we may enact His decrees. It is in the course of acting out His decrees that we develop moral character and new habits, thus establishing a new course of life.

ה He

Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, And I shall keep it to the end.

Psalm 119:33 — NKJV ~

The Hebrew word for “keep” is natsar:

  1. to guard, watch, watch over, keep
    1. (Qal)
      1. to watch, guard, keep
      2. to preserve, guard from dangers
      3. to keep, observe, guard with fidelity
      4. to guard, keep secret
      5. to be kept close, be blockaded
      6. watchman (participle)

This part gets me so excited. I’ve always thought that “keep” as it is used here simply means to obey, but as I read it according to how the word natsar was intended, I see that its meaning goes much deeper. When I ask the Lord to choose me and cast me to my prescribed limits, so that I may develop a good moral character with new habits that establish the course of my life, according to Psalm 119:33, I then make Him a promise…

ה He

Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, And I shall keep it to the end.

Psalm 119:33 — NKJV ~

I not only promise to obey His word, which is vital, but in this instance, the promise I am making is to also watch over His word and guard it. I’m promising to guard His word with fidelity and preserve it. I’m promising the Lord that I will be a watchman for His word, keeping it close and guarding it from danger. 

As I read and study the word of God, something happens within me. As His word takes root within me, and the Lord speaks to my heart, zeal for His word begins to grow, and I find myself fiercely guarding His word from error. I find that it angers me to see people take the Lord’s word out of context or give it a different meaning than what He has clearly inspired its authors to write. I have become a watchman for God’s word.

That is why I write against false teaching and false prophets and teachers. I do it because there is a fire within me for the word of God, and I cannot sit idly by while false teachers take advantage of those who do not know what God’s word truly says. My heart longs to see men, women and children come to the saving grace of Christ. I long to see them saved, healed and delivered from the sin that so easily besets us. I long to see them set free, and it is the TRUTH that sets us free.

Therefore, I must speak the truth in love, expose the lies and also expose the false teachers that many have set on pedestals. For we serve a jealous God, and He alone is worthy of our worship, while some of the men and women who claim to be bible scholars and teachers of the word are charlatans who fleece the flock, and they must be exposed. 

ה He

Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, And I shall keep it to the end.

Psalm 119:33 — NKJV ~

Bless the Lord, my beloved readers. Meditate on this word from the Lord today, and commit yourself to asking Holy Spirit to teach you, aim you, shoot you and cast you towards the limits and boundaries that God has decreed for you, so that you too will be a watchman on the wall, guarding the word of God and hiding it in your heart to the end.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Related articles

Be Encouraged, My Child! Your Sins Are Forgiven

1 Jesus climbed into a boat and went back across the lake to His own town. 2 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.”

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

4 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! 8 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 ~

When I read this, passage of scripture, my mind immediately goes to the many people who have been paralyzed throughout the centuries. I think of people who I’ve known personally, and those that I don’t know personally, but I know of them.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the United States of America, was paralyzed from the waist down, and later diagnosed with infantile paralysis (polio) in 1921, at the age of 39. Unbeknownst to the very people who elected him, Roosevelt was able to keep his paralysis a secret, for the most part, through the aid of the press.

Image Credit: www.history.com
Image Credit:
http://www.history.com

How do you think people would react if their loved ones brought them to see Jesus, and He simply responded, “Be encouraged, My child! Your sins are forgiven.”?  How would Franklin D. Roosevelt have responded, I wonder? Would he praise the Lord and thank Jesus? Or would he be offended that Jesus brought his sins up? How would the wealthy spoiled politician have responded? Would he have angrily tried to silence Jesus, fearing He would Roosevelt’s adulterous affairs to the world? Or would he have repented, crying out to the Lord and asking for forgiveness for the sins he had committed against God and man?

Image Credit: Photorazzi
Image Credit:
Photorazzi

Many people have heard of Christopher Reeve, an actor best known for playing Superman in the 1980’s. Reeve was paralyzed after being thrown from a horse in 1995, at the age of 42. For the rest of his life, until he died at age 52, Reeve was a quadriplegic, unable to breathe on his own without breathing equipment.

How do you think Christopher Reeve and his family, friends and fans would have responded to Jesus telling him, “Be encouraged, My child! Your sins are forgiven.”? Do you think Reeve and those who loved him would have rejoiced at Jesus’ words of love and mercy? Or would he, his family, friends and fans be offended at the implication that he was a sinful man? Would he and those who loved him have recognized that He was in the presence of the Son of God, who had authority to forgive sins? Or would they simply think Jesus was a man like any other man, who had no authority… a man who had stepped out of line by implying that Christopher Reeves was a sinner? How would you feel if you witnessed this?

Image Credit: Messiah College News
Image Credit:
Messiah College News

And then there’s Joni Eareckson Tada… I don’t know how many of you are familiar with Joni Eareckson Tada, so I’ll just give you a brief overview of her life. In 1967, at the tender age of 17, Joni Eareckson Tada was involved in a terrible diving accident, fracturing her spine between the fourth and fifth cervical levels, which left her a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the shoulders down. During the months that followed her accident, Joni suffered from deep depression, wanting to commit suicide, yet physically unable to carry out her wishes, until finally, one night, a few months after her accident, she cried out to the Lord to help her endure and to let some good come from her pain.

Image Credit: Disability Campaign
Image Credit:
Disability Campaign

The Lord heard her cry, filling her life with purpose. Though she was no longer able to use her hands and arms, nor her feet and her legs, He gave her the ability to draw and to paint, holding the necessary instruments in her mouth. The quality of the artwork she produced far exceeded the abilities of most people who have use of all of their limbs. And every picture drawn, as well as every painting was done for the glory of the Lord… 

Image Credit: Heaven - Your Real Home Joni Eareckson Tada
Image Credit:
Heaven – Your Real Home
Joni Eareckson Tada

As she drew closer to the Lord, Joni acknowledged that as incomprehensible as it may seem to most people, the Lord had allowed the horrible accident in answer to a prayer that she had prayed few months prior. That night, after returning home from an evening of teenage passion and sin, Joni had cried out to God for forgiveness and for the strength to stop sinning against Him. She admitted that the Lord would have to give her the strength to repent and turn away from the sins she was involved in, because she was powerless to stop on her own. She admits that she has come to believe that the Lord allowed all that has happened in answer to that desperate cry for help, and to discipline her according to Hebrews 12…

5 And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as His children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when He corrects you. 6 For the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes each one He accepts as His child.” 

7 As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as His own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? 8 If God doesn’t discipline you as He does all of His children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really His children at all. 9 Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever?

10 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in His holiness. 11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

~ Hebrews 12:5-11 — NLT ~

Image Credit: Tulips Joni Eareckson Tada
Image Credit:
Tulips
Joni Eareckson Tada

This seems so difficult for people to swallow. Would a God of love really ordain one of His children to become a quadriplegic in answer to prayer? Is God really more concerned about our souls than in the suffering of our bodies? Is it easier for God to forgive sins? Or is it easier for Him to heal our bodies, enabling the quadriplegics and the paraplegics to rise up and walk again?

Look at yourself and your own situations. How is your physical health? How is your emotional health? Have you ever wondered, “Why me, Lord?” Have you ever considered the possibility that not only has God allowed your present suffering, but perhaps, He also ordained it? Is this offensive to you? What if I told you that the Lord’s love for us runs so deep, and flies so high; its breadth is so wide and it spans so long that He will spare nothing to win us for eternity? Remember, my beloved readers, God knows our hearts better than we do…

9 “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? 10 But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.

~ Jeremiah 17:9-10 — NLT ~

Christ knows what is in the heart of man, and therefore, He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows exactly what you and I must endure in order for us to submit our lives to Him, and while it is not His will to harm us, He will do whatever it takes in order to draw us to Him. Have you been suffering? I have suffered greatly, both throughout my younger years, and even recently. I don’t understand why the Lord chose to ordain my suffering, but I do know that He loves me, and He promises that He will work all things together for my good, because I love Him and He has called me according to His glory.

2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

~ James 1:2-4 — NLT ~

What about you, beloved? Do you love the Lord? Has He called you according to His glory? Then count it all joy, for the Lord is perfecting you!

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

God Cries Out To His Children Through Isaiah

Photo Credit: http://www.christcenteredmall.com/profiles/isaiah.htm

How deeply the Lord loves His children! So many Christians never venture into the Old Testament, because they say it’s too difficult to understand, but I love the Old Testament. If we take the time to study the Old Testament, it will help us to understand the New Testament better. When we study the Old Testament, we see the character and the nature of God. Think of it this way:

  • The Old Testament is the prequel
  • The New Testament is the fulfillment of the Old Testament
  • The life we are living is part of the sequel.

Therefore, let’s take a look at this first chapter of Isaiah. We’re going to study this chapter a little at a time.

These visions concerning Judah and Jerusalem came to Isaiah son of Amoz during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah — all kings of Judah. (Isaiah 1:1 NLT)

The first verse is packed with information.

  • The first thing we learn is that a man named Isaiah, had visions concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
  • The next thing we learn is that Isaiah was the son of a man named Amoz.
  • The final thing we learn is that Isaiah had these visions over a long period of time (see Kings’ reigns below)
  1. King Uzziah        (788–736 BC)    Reigned 52 years
  2. King Jotham       (758–742 BC)    Reigned 16 years
  3. King Ahaz           (742–726 BC)    Reigned 16 years
  4. King Hezekiah    (726–697 BC)    Reigned 29 years

2 Hear, O heavens! Listen, O earth! This is what the LORD says: “The children I raised and cared for have turned against Me. 3 Even the animals — the donkey and the ox — know their owner and appreciate his care, but not My people Israel. No matter what I do for them, they still do not understand.” (Isaiah 1:2-3 NLT)

Photo Credit: http://the2520.com/israel_and_judah_called_to_obey.htm

Right away, Isaiah calls the heavens and the earth to listen to what the Lord says. You see, although the children of Israel are God’s chosen people, His word is important for all to hear… those in the heavens… the angels… the cherubim… the seraphim… the devil and his demons… all who live on earth…

Do you notice in that verse that Isaiah is crying for the earth to listen? He didn’t say, “Listen, O Israel!”  That means that this message is important for all who dwell on earth to hear. Do you see? This is a message that is not just for the Jewish people. God’s word is timeless. It’s not just for the people of long ago. It is for the people of today as well. Therefore, my friends, I cry out to you, Hear, O heavens! Listen, O earth! Listen to what the Lord says!”

This is what the LORD says: “The children I raised and cared for have turned against Me. 3 Even the animals — the donkey and the ox — know their owner and appreciate his care, but not My people Israel. No matter what I do for them, they still do not understand.” Can you hear the voice of the Lord as He cries out? Do you feel His sorrow?

If you’ve ever raised a child who turned against you, even if only for an instant, do you remember the pain you felt? Do you remember your grief, when your child rejected you? Did you try to reason it out in your mind? “This child I raised and cared for has turned against me.”  

Photo Credit: http://www.ehow.com/how_8783240_do-stop-clashing-teenagers.html

I remember how I felt when my children rebelled against me. It broke my heart. I remember thinking of the love that I had lavished on my children, only to arrive at that moment when they rebelled against me. And I can remember thinking and saying something very similar to what God says here. “Even the dog appreciates me, but not my child. After all I’ve done for them, they still don’t get it. No matter how much love I’ve given them… no matter how much I’ve sacrificed… they still don’t understand.”

For all of the men and women who are parents, I’m sure you can understand these feelings. It’s very likely that you’ve experienced them too. When you’ve gone through that experience with your children, did you ever stop to think of that time when you rebelled against your parents? Did it occur to you that, “Oh my goodness! This is how I made my parents feel”?

Has it occurred to you that this is how your heavenly Father feels when we rebel against Him? He spoke those words, because His heart’s desire is that you would understand. Do you have any idea how much God loves you… how much He has sacrificed for you?

He loves you so much that He poured His life out for you on the cross, and all He asks from any of us is that we would return His love and obey Him. Isn’t that all you’ve asked of your children?

Photo Credit: http://www.ehow.com/info_8712216_advantages-parental-discipline.html

Think about it… why does a good parent discipline his or her children? Isn’t it because we want them to grow up to be responsible adults, who are equipped to succeed in life? When you require obedience from your child, isn’t it because you know the dangers that could come to your child if he/she disobeys? 

Is it possible that God calls us to obedience because He knows the dangers that we will encounter in this life, and He wants to protect us from them? Is it possible that as any good parent, He wants us to grow up to be the men and women He created us to be, so that we will succeed in life?

Hear, O heavens! And listen, O earth! The Lord says that He formed you in your mother’s womb. While you were hidden from view, God carefully knit you together in His image, and before you ever drew your first breath — indeed, before the foundations of the earth were laid, He knew you and had a plan for your life. His plan was for your good. He wanted to give you a wonderful future filled with hope. He wanted to adopt you and be your Daddy, and all that He’s ever wanted from you, is that you would be His baby and love Him with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. He said that if you love Him, you will obey Him. Therefore, I ask you, my beloved friend, Do you love Him?

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Words of Jesus – Beware of False Prophets

“Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep, but are really wolves that will tear you apart. You can detect them by the way they act, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit. You don’t pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles. A healthy tree produces good fruit, and an unhealthy tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, the way to identify a tree or a person is by the kind of fruit that is produced.” (Matthew 7:15-20 NLT)

Photo Credit: http://sheepsclothing.tumblr.com/

There are so many preachers and teachers on television and in the church who tell us what we should and should not be doing. There are good ones and there are bad ones. The bad ones are the ones who claim to be Christians, and yet they preach and teach lies and false doctrines, and there are many poor unsuspecting people who are led astray by these false prophets.

The world has had its share of psychos who claim to be men of God, those who persuade a few to go the wrong way, like Jim Jones, David Koresh, or Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church. These men are so crazy and off base, that while they may lead a small group of people astray, not too many people will follow them, because their teachings are so bizarre. 

Photo Credit: http://biblicalproof.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/beware-of-false-prophets/

What really concerns me, are the men and women on television and in the church, who preach false doctrine that feels and sounds good, and leads many people astray. That’s why Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep, but are really wolves that will tear you apart.” Do you know how to recognize these false prophets?

Jesus didn’t want any of us to be confused or misled, so He told us how we could recognize false prophets. He said, “…the way to identify a tree or a person is by the kind of fruit that is produced.” So, let’s break this down. 

When scripture talks about bearing fruit, it is speaking about our character or our nature. You see, those who do not walk in the Spirit, walk in their flesh or their sinful nature. While those who do walk in the Spirit, have a new nature. 

What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun! (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT)

So, when Jesus tells us that the way to determine whether someone is a true man or woman of God, or a false prophet is to see what kind of fruit they bear, what He’s telling us is that they should not be living according to their old sinful nature.

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21 NLT)

Photo Credit: http://craigtowens.com/2012/06/03/sinful-nature-versus-spiritual-nature/

The apostle Paul makes it really clear what kind of fruit is produced by those who are not walking in the Spirit… This is the kind of fruit that a false prophet produces…

  • Sexual immoralityHow many people, claiming to be men and women of God are involved in sexual immorality, which includes fornication, adultery, homosexuality or pedophilia? It also includes pornography. And though it may seem harmless to some, flirting is included in this category as well, because it can stir up and awaken feelings within the one being flirted with, that should not be awakened.
  • Impure thoughts – A man or woman of God should not harbor impure thoughts.  

And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8 NLT)

  • Eagerness for lustful pleasure – Look closely at the man or woman who wants to instruct you. Who are they trying to please? Whose will are they fulfilling? Is it their will, or the will of God? Do they indulge themselves? Or are they willing to forsake their own desires so that they can accomplish God’s will for their lives?
  • Idolatry – Does the man or woman who is teaching, preaching or prophesying worship any idols? Look closely. Idolatry can come in many forms… some worship money (do they frequently preach about the need for more and more money?)… some worship themselves (do they constantly need to be catered to, rather than serving?)… As you listen to this man or woman speak, does it cause you to put them on a pedestal? 
  • Participation in demonic activitiesThis would not only include Satan worship, but also numerology, astrology, drug abuse, alcohol abuse…
  • Hostility Is this person hostile against those who don’t agree with him or her? 
  • Quarreling – Does this person get in arguments? Does this person start arguments? Does this person always have to have the last word? Is this person willing to admit when he or she is wrong?
  • Jealousy – Does this person get upset if you go to another church? Does this person get upset if you don’t come to church every time the doors are open? Does this person demand to know where you are, who you’re with, etc.?
  • Outbursts of anger – Does this person have outbursts of anger when things don’t go his or her way?
  • Selfish ambition – Does this person spend more time promoting the gospel, or does he/she spend more time promoting him/herself and his/her products, books, cd’s and dvd’s? Does this person only minister in large venues, where he/she can get the most notice and/or money?
  • Divisions – Does this person cause divisions in churches, families and friendships?
  • The feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group – Does this person think that all other denominations are all wrong, except for his/her own?
  • Envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin – Does this person envy the success of others? Does he/she have or participate in wild parties? Other kinds of sin includes false teachings… 
Photo Credit: http://tchthoughtbox.blogspot.com/2012/10/fruit-of-spirit.html

Do you know if the person who is teaching or preaching to you is speaking truth? Do you understand that it’s your responsibility to examine the scriptures so that you will know for yourself if what you’re hearing is the truth or a lie? A true prophet, teacher, evangelist, pastor or apostle will bear this kind of fruit:

But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, He will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to His cross and crucified them there. (Galatians 5:22-24 NLT)

My friends, whose teaching do you listen to? Who are you following? Someone who produces the fruit of the Spirit or someone who yields the fruit of the flesh? Beware of false prophets. They’re everywhere, and they can easily lead you to hell.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Heal Me, O Lord, And I Shall Be Healed

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved, For You are my praise.

(Jeremiah 17:14 NKJV)

I’ve been in a lot of pain lately. For the last two years, I’ve suffered chronic back pain, and my back seriously hurts all the time, except for a few days, that could probably all be counted on one hand. It’s been — well — painful. As I’ve said before, I’ve had to stop working because the pain has been so great.

But last month, things took a turn for the worst. My chronic pain became acute pain. Whereas before I suffered from frequent insomnia due to pain, I now suffered from constant insomnia. The pain would not let me rest. But God! 

I don’t want to write something dark and gloomy, nor do I want to make my pain any more or less than what it is. I thought my pain was pretty horrible up until a month ago, when suddenly, for some unknown reason, it became more acute than before, and this time, instead of the pain radiating on my left side, it moved to my right side. It was a sharp, constant burning/aching pain. It’s been horrible.

At any rate, Friday, my church was having a special service, with an Evangelist that I had never met before, and I wanted to go — especially since I hadn’t been to my own church in more than a month. Therefore, I called my pastor to come and pick me up, because I was not able to drive with the pain medication I’ve been taking. It causes drowsiness, and I didn’t want to risk falling asleep at the wheel and killing myself or someone else.

I was in a lot of pain when my pastor picked me up, but I was determined to go to the service. As the evangelist was ministering, she suddenly stopped right in the middle of her message… right in the middle of a sentence, and she said, “Oh, ouch. I’ve never felt like this before. Oh the pain. I’m feeling a sharp burning pain in my back, like a pinched nerve, but it’s not my pain. Someone here has terrible pain in their back. I feel it. It’s sharp, like a pinched nerve.” I listened closely. I knew in my spirit right away, who she was talking about, and she mentioned it a couple of more times as she was preaching, but I said nothing to indicate she was talking about me.

You see, I figured if the Lord had a word for me, He would reveal to her who it was that had the pain. As soon as she was finished preaching, she walked over to me, and began to pray that the Lord would heal my back. She was for real. After she prayed for me, I sat down. I was still in pain, but the Lord whispered this scripture in my heart, and told me that I need to speak it over myself…

Photo Credit: https://versaday.com/Months/12/1206.aspx

 

I went home that night, and I was too wired to sleep. Again, I felt no improvement, but I knew that the Lord had put that scripture on my heart, and so I repeated it to Him… Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved, for You are my praise. When I finally went to bed at around 2:00am, I slept until 12:30pm. That’s the longest I’ve slept in months!

Then, when I got up that day, the acute pain was gone. Yes, I still have this nagging, chronic pain, but I can deal with that. I couldn’t deal with the acute pain. I can’t even begin to describe how debilitating that was for me, but now, the Lord had delivered me from that acute pain. It’s now Tuesday night, and yes, I’m in pain, but the acute pain is still gone. Hallelujah!

And since the Lord put that scripture on my heart, I’m one who likes to dissect the word and see what it means… Therefore, I’m going to break this down — as much for me as for you.

Heal me, O Lord and I shall be healed the original Hebrew word for Heal is Rapha (pronounced raw-faw), which means:

  • to heal, make healthful
  • of God
  • healer, physician (of men)

When I pray this, I am telling the Lord to heal me, make me healthy, and I believe that when I speak these words, I shall be healed. If God put it on my heart to pray this prayer, would He then not do what His word says He will do? 

He also tells me Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. (Psalm 37:4 NASB) So, let’s be clear on this. I am supposed to delight myself in the Lord. If I’m going to do this properly, then I need to know exactly what it means to delight myself in the Lord.

Photo Credit: http://www.pics22.com/pics/bible-quotes/page/36/

The Hebrew word for delight is `anag (pronounced aw-nag’), and that means:

  • to be soft, be delicate, be dainty
  • to be delicate
  • to be of dainty habit, be pampered
  • to be happy about, take exquisite delight
  • to make merry over, make sport of

Therefore, to delight oneself in the Lord is to have a soft spot for Him. When you’re in love with someone, have you ever had a place within your heart that’s just like mush for him/her? And when that person looks at you, or whispers an endearment to you, you know how your heart does a little flip-flop? Sometimes you feel weak in the knees? You feel sort of shaky and breathless? That’s how God wants us to feel about Him.

You know how it is when that one that you love starts walking to you, and you get all giggly and excited? You’re extremely happy that he/she is coming towards you or calling you or texting you… Have you ever felt like that? This is what it means to delight yourself in the Lord. You get all giddy as you read His word, and as He speaks to you. There’s an excitement and a joy within you that’s palpable. This is how it is when you delight yourself in the Lord.

When we delight ourselves in the Lord, it moves Him, because He delights in us. Did you know that? Check this scripture out — it’s one of my favorites!

The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.

(Zephaniah 3:17 NIV)

Photo Credit: http://alifetimeofwisdom.com/category/scriptures/

Do you see? It’s when we delight ourselves in the Lord, that He is delighted in return, and He then gives us the desires of our heart… He quiets us with His love…. Sometimes, I need to be quieted, when my body is wracked with pain… When my heart is broken, and I just can’t seem to get past it… When I’m angry… When I’m fearful… These are the times, that I begin thinking on the goodness of the Lord… and as I do, He begins to quiet me with His love.

As He rejoices in my love for Him, He begins to sing over me… Sometimes, if you listen closely, you can almost hear His voice as He sings His songs of love for us… And as I delight in Him, He gives me the desires of my heart… 

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved, For You are my praise.

(Jeremiah 17:14 NKJV)

Save me, and I shall be saved The Hebrew word for save is Yasha` (pronounced yaw-shah’) and it means:

  • to save, be saved, be delivered
  • to be liberated, be saved, be delivered
  • to be saved (in battle), be victorious
  • to save, deliver
  • to save from moral troubles
  • to give victory to
Photo Credit: http://jtbarts.com/2012/11/set-free-jesus-my-ransom/

What binds you? What holds you captive? Is it sex? Money? Drugs? Alcohol? Bitterness? Unforgiveness? So many people try to make deliverance more complicated that it is. If the devil, the enemy of your soul can convince you that it’s impossible, then deliverance from these things will be impossible. Deliverance is really very simple, but people have bought into the enemy’s lies, and so they repeat those lies to you… “You’ll never change”… “My whole family is like this, and I can’t help it. It’s in my genes”… “I tried Jesus, and maybe that works for you, but it doesn’t work for me”… “Well, God knows my heart. He knows I want to quit ____, but I just can’t.”

Have you bought into those lies? Let me tell you the truth. Jesus is not just something you try for a while to see if it works out for you. He is the Son of the living God, not a new soft drink or recipe that you try to see if you like Him or not. Don’t fool yourself. He does know your heart, better than you do, and He knows if you sincerely want a relationship with Him or not. 

Do you know that when I married my husband more than 31 years ago, I made a vow to love him for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, for better or worse, until death parts us? Let me tell you, he’s had a lot of sickness. He’s had five surgeries that I can think of right off the top of my head (I think more, but can’t remember them all)… He’s had numerous hospitalizations. I haven’t seen the richer part, but I’ve sure seen the poorer… We’ve had some wonderful times that would classify as for better… And we’ve had some worse times, times when my flesh wanted to call it quits, but the Lord kept reminding me that I made a vow to love him, even when he was being unlovable. (And for the record, my husband has gone through some poor times, some sick times and some worse times with me, but he made a vow to love me, and he has kept that vow.)

Photo Credit: http://www.prayerthoughts.com/

I shared all of that to say to you, it’s not enough just to “try” Jesus and see if He gives you what you want. I made a vow to Jesus that I would love Him for richer or poorer, just as I did with my husband, and I’m not rich in material things, but I am rich in love, and in mercy and grace. I don’t care if I have to scrape my next meal out of a dumpster, I will still delight myself in the Lord, because I trust Him to take care of me, and if I die, hallelujah! To be absent from my body is to be present with the Lord.

Until I am completely healed, or until He takes me home, I will continue to delight myself in the Lord, because He makes all things work together for my good — even the pain — because I love Him and He has called me according to His purpose. And what is His purpose? He came to heal the brokenhearted, to preach the good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison doors.

Until I am completely healed, or until He takes me home, I will continue to declare the goodness of God, and I will also continue to pray:

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; Save me, and I shall be saved, For You are my praise.

(Jeremiah 17:14 NKJV)

Are you sick and tired? Are you lonely and brokenhearted? Are you deaf, mute, blind or lame? The same Jesus who worked miracles over 2000 years ago still lives, and He still works miracles. Why don’t you cry out to Jesus? Don’t just try Him, commit yourself to Him… delight yourself in Him, and watch how He changes your life.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers