Tag Archives: mercy

Addressing the Elephant in the Room…

When his brothers got ready to leave Egypt, Joseph called the manager of his palace once again, and ordered, “Fill the men’s packs with as much food as they can carry, and put each man’s money just inside his pack.  Then, put my silver goblet just inside the youngest one’s pack, along with his grain money.”  The manager of the palace did as he was commanded.

The brothers left with their donkeys at daybreak, but before they were far from the city, Joseph gave this order to his palace manager, “Chase after those men and when you catch them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid good with evil?  Why did you take my master’s silver cup that he uses to predict the future?  What you have done is evil!'”

So, the palace manager took off and chased them, and when he caught up with the brothers, he exclaimed, “Why have you repaid good with evil?  Why did you take my master’s silver cup that he uses to predict the future?  What you have done is evil!”

Joseph’s brothers were shocked at the man’s accusation, and replied, “Why do you speak this way, my lord?  We would never do such a thing, may heaven forbid it!  Don’t you remember?  When we found the money inside our packs, we brought it back to you from the land of Canaan!  So how could you think that we would steal silver or gold from your lord’s palace?”  Confident that they were guilty of no crime, they finished with, “If you find the goblet on any one of us, put him to death — and the rest of us will serve as your slaves!”

“No,” the palace manager replied.  “The one who has my lord’s silver goblet will be my slave, but the rest of you will be blameless.”  Then, each one of the brothers hurriedly placed his pack on the ground and opened them.  The manager searched each bag, starting with the eldest brother, and ending with the youngest, and he found the governor’s silver goblet where he had planted it, in Benjamin’s pack.

When the brothers saw this, they moaned and ripped their clothes in grief.  Each of them remembered their father’s fearful countenance, when he had finally allowed Benjamin to travel to Egypt with them.  Losing Benjamin, on top of his continued grief for Joseph, would kill him, and then, his death would be on their shoulders, too.  Each of them, except for Benjamin, who didn’t know of their sin against Joseph, realized their sins had finally caught up with them.  They believed that God’s retribution was finally upon them.  Therefore, each one quickly reloaded his donkey and returned to the city to face the governor.

Joseph was still in his palace, when Judah and his brothers arrived, and all of them fell down before him on the ground, trembling with fear.  Joseph was startled to see that all of them had returned, and he said, “How could you do this to me?  Don’t you know that I’m able to see into the future?”

Judah fearfully replied, “O my lord, what can we say?  There’s no way for us to prove our innocence.  God is repaying us for our sins, so here we are.  We have all returned to be your slaves, not just the one with whom my lord’s silver cup was found!”

Again, his brothers surprised him, and Joseph replied, “Heaven forbid!  I would never do such a thing.  Only the man who stole my goblet will be my slave, and the rest of you may go in peace to your father.”

Judah’s heart broke as he remembered both his father’s fear of losing Benjamin just as he’d lost Joseph, and the promise that he had made to protect Benjamin from harm.  So, he arose and beseeched Joseph, “Please, my lord!  May I speak freely with you, without arousing your anger?  For you are as powerful as Pharaoh himself.” 

At Joseph’s nod, Judah proceeded, “Do you remember when you asked us, ‘Do you have a father?  Or a brother?’  We truthfully answered your questions, my lord, telling you about our father, who is an old man, and about our youngest brother, who is a child of his old age.  We told you that this youngest brother also had a full brother, who is dead, and that he alone is all that remains of his mother’s children, and our father loves him greatly.

“Then, when you ordered us to bring our brother down to you, so that you could see him, we told you, ‘The boy can’t leave his father, for if he were to leave him, our father would surely die.’  When we told you this, my lord, you said that we would not see your face again, unless we brought our brother back with us, so we went back home to your servant, my father, and told him what you had said, and when our father told us to return to Egypt to buy some grain, we told him that we couldn’t.

“We said, ‘We can’t go down to Egypt again, unless our youngest brother is with us, because the governor won’t let us see his face without him.'”

Wiping tears from his eyes, Judah drew a deep breath, and continued, “Then your servant, my father, said, ‘You know that my wife bore me two sons.  The one left and never returned, for he was surely torn to pieces by some wild animal.  Now, if you take this son away from me too, and something happens to him, you will send this white-haired old man down to his grave with grief.’

“So, how can I go to your servant, my father, without his youngest son?  For his heart is bound up with the boy’s heart, and when he sees the boy isn’t with us, it will kill him.  If his heart is broken yet again, the grief will send our white-haired father to his grave, and it will be my fault.  For I, your servant, guaranteed my brother’s safety.  I told my father, ‘If I fail to bring him to you, then I will bear the blame forever.’

“Therefore, my lord, I beg you to let me stay as your slave instead of the boy, and let him return home to my father with our brothers.”  Judah sobbed, remembering Jacob’s pain when he lost Joseph, because of his and his brothers’ sin.  Now, more than twenty years later, his father still grieved for Joseph, and losing Benjamin would no doubt kill him.  “Please, my lord,” Judah pleaded, “allow me to stay as your slave, and let Benjamin return to our father, for I couldn’t bear to see his anguish, if I return without him.”

When he saw their compassion and discerned their repentance, Joseph could contain himself no longer.  He ordered his servants and attendants to leave the room immediately.  Then, when no one but his brothers remained, Joseph wept loudly, and revealed himself to them.  More than twenty years of torment were loosed with Joseph’s tears.  Indeed, he wailed so loudly, his entire household and even Pharaoh’s household heard his keening.

“I am Joseph!” he gasped in the midst of his wailing.  “Is it true that my father, Jacob, still lives?”  His brothers were so dumbfounded at the governor’s actions, that they couldn’t speak at first.  So, Joseph beckoned his brothers, “Please!  Come closer.”

elephant in the room 3

They approached him hesitantly, as fear and hope warred within each of them.  “I’m Joseph, your brother, whom you sold as a slave to Egypt,” he told them.  Their eyes widened in alarm, as the truth of their sin was finally exposed, and the elephant in the room was addressed for the first time in more than twenty years.  “Don’t be sad and angry with yourselves for selling me into slavery here,”  Joseph said, as the tears continued to flow down his cheeks.  He looked into the eyes of each of his brothers, who had betrayed him, starting with Reuben, the oldest, all the way down to Zebulun.  As he looked into each of their eyes, they at first tried to avert his gaze, but then they each looked back at him, and tears soon flowed from their eyes too.

Meanwhile, Benjamin stared at Joseph, completely enthralled by his brother, and filled with joy.  He couldn’t wait to share the good news with his father that Joseph, who had been lost to them for more than twenty years was found.  He couldn’t wait to see his father’s joy when he discovered that his son, whom he thought was dead, still lived!

Joseph grinned at him, then turned back to his other brothers.  “Don’t be sad and angry with yourselves for selling me into slavery here,”  Joseph said again, as he fully addressed the elephant in the room.  “For it was really God who sent me ahead of you to preserve your lives.  Indeed, the famine that has been over the land for the last two years will continue for yet another five years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvest.

“Don’t you see?”  Joseph asked.  “God sent me ahead of you to ensure that you will have descendants on earth and to save your lives in a great deliverance.  So, it was not you who sent me here, but God, and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, lord of all his household and ruler over the whole land of Egypt.”

Joseph drew closer to them and said, “Brothers, hurry up and go to my father.  Tell him that Joseph says, ‘Elohim has made me lord of all Egypt!  Come down to me and don’t delay!  You will live in the land of Goshen and be near me with your children, your grandchildren, flocks, herds and everything you own.  I will provide for you there, so you won’t be impoverished because five more years of famine are yet to come.’

Artistic close up of an African elephant in black and white

“Brothers, you can see with your own eyes see that it truly is me, Joseph, speaking to you.  Benjamin, you see with your own eyes that I am truly Joseph, your long-lost brother!  Now go,”  Joseph said, as yet more tears began to flow from his eyes.  “Tell my father how honored I am in Egypt and everything you have seen, and hurry up and bring him down here to me!”  Finally, Joseph gathered Benjamin into his arms, and wept as he embraced him.  Benjamin, too, wept into Joseph’s neck.  Joseph then kissed all of his brothers, washing them with his tears.  Then, Joseph’s brothers finally began to speak to him, and each one finally gazed at the elephant in the room, the horrible sin they had tried to bury, and addressed it…

If we acknowledge our sins, then, since he is trustworthy and just, he will forgive them and purify us from all wrongdoing.  (1 John 1:9 Complete Jewish Bible)

© 2019
Cheryl A. Showers

 

Feast in the Midst of Famine

As the famine ravaged the land, and their supply of grain dwindled down, Jacob feared that his family would starve.  Therefore, he gathered his sons together and said, “Go back to Egypt and buy us a little more food.”

“Abba,” Judah replied sadly, as he gently gazed at the old man, who seemed to grow more and more frail, with each passing day, “The man was serious when he warned us, ‘You won’t see my face again unless your brother is with you.’  If you send Benjamin with us, we will go down and buy more food.  But if you don’t let Benjamin go, we won’t go either.  Remember, the man said, ‘You won’t see my face again unless your brother is with you.'”

5-they-get-home-and-tell-jacob

Jacob’s heart constricted, and he regarded each of his sons, before he finally settled his gaze on Benjamin, his youngest.  The heavy weight of pain that he had carried for years, seemed to grow heavier, as he contemplated losing yet another son, and tears flowed freely from his eyes.  “Why were you so cruel to me?” Jacob moaned.  “Why did you tell him you had another brother?”

“Abba,”  they gently replied.  “The man kept asking us questions about our family.  He asked, ‘Is your father still alive? Do you have another brother?’  So we answered his questions.  How could we know he would say, ‘Bring your brother down here?'”  It grieved all of them to see what the anguish their sin had brought to their father.  If only they could go back and change it all, but that wasn’t possible.

How long, O Lord, must others suffer for our sins?” Judah silently prayed, as he gently laid his hand on Jacob’s shoulder.  Guilt and shame washed over him, for his part in bringing his father to this piteous state.  The results of his and his brothers’ evil acts were far worse than they could ever have imagined.  His abba was wasting away, not because of the famine, but because of their evil act of jealousy.  No longer the vibrant man he had once been, their Abba was now a shell of his old self.  He had grieved for Joseph for more than twenty years, after Judah and his brothers had given him a death sentence, and now, they were asking Jacob to trust them with Benjamin.  Who could blame him for his fear?

Judah spoke tenderly to his father, “Send the boy with me, and we will be on our way.  Otherwise, we will all die of starvation—and not only we, but you and our little ones.  I personally guarantee his safety.  You may hold me responsible if I don’t bring him back to you.  If that happens, let me bear the blame forever.  Abba,” he earnestly said, “if we hadn’t wasted all this time, we could have gone and returned twice by now.”

Jacob sighed and prayed,  “Which is worse, Adonai?  Losing Benjamin to his brothers’ wicked schemes?  Or watching him, and my other sons and grandchildren die a slow painful death before my very eyes, due to starvation, because I’m afraid to trust You?”  Jacob blew out a deep, shuddering sigh, as he answered Judah,  “Alright.  If it can’t be avoided, then at least do this.  Pack your bags with the best products of this land.  Take them down to the man as gifts—balm, honey, gum, aromatic resin, pistachio nuts, and almonds.  Also take double the money that was put back in your sacks, as it was probably someone’s mistake.  Then take your brother, and go back to the man.  May El Shaddai give you mercy as you go before the man, so that he will release Simeon and let Benjamin return.  But if I must lose my children, so be it,” Jacob said, as he drew in a quivering breath, and clutched his right fist over his heart, which pounded rapidly.

The brothers immediately packed their belongings, with Jacob’s gifts and double the money, as soon as he announced his decision, and headed to Egypt with Benjamin.  They watched over Benjamin protectively, as they made their way to Egypt, lest any harm fall upon him.  As soon as they arrived, the brothers sought out the governor, and presented themselves to him.

When he saw Benjamin with them, Joseph’s heart soared within his chest, and he informed the manager of his household, “These men will eat with me this noon.  Take them inside the palace.  Then go slaughter an animal, and prepare a big feast.”  So his manager did as he commanded him, and led the brothers to Joseph’s palace.

When they saw that they were being taken into Joseph’s palace, his brothers were terrified.  “It’s because of the money someone put in our sacks the last time we were here,” they said.  “He’s going to pretend we stole it, then seize us, make us slaves and take our donkeys.”

Fearfully, they approached the manager of Joseph’s household, and said, “Sir, we came to Egypt once before to buy food.  But as we were returning home, we stopped for the night and opened our sacks.  Then we discovered that each man’s money—the exact amount paid—was in the top of his sack!  Here it is; we have brought it back with us.  We also have additional money to buy  more food.  We have no idea who put our money in our sacks.”

The household manager smiled at the brothers.  “Relax.  Don’t be afraid.  Your God, the God of your father, must have put this treasure into your sacks.  I know I received your payment.”  Then he released Simeon and brought him out to them.

All of the brothers rejoiced when they saw Simeon, and took turns hugging him and patting one another on their backs.  The manager then led them into Joseph’s palace and gave them water to wash their feet.  He also provided food for their donkeys.  Informed that they would be eating here, they prepared their gifts for Joseph’s arrival at noon.

An overwhelming array of emotions filled Joseph when he came home that day, and his brothers bowed low to the ground before him, presenting him with gifts from their (his) homeland.  He felt great elation as he looked at his brother, Benjamin, who knew nothing of their brothers’ treachery, and great nostalgia for his father and his homeland when his brothers presented their father’s gifts to him.  He also felt some doubt and misgiving at his brothers’ seemingly changed hearts.  Had their hearts truly changed?  Or was their professed shame for betraying him, merely a ruse?  After receiving their gifts, he asked the brothers, “How is your father, the old man you spoke about?  Is he still alive?”  With bated breath, he awaited their answer, and anxiously prayed for his father’s health.

“Yes,” they replied.  “Our father, your servant, is alive and well,” and they bowed low again.

After he expelled a breath of relief, Joseph again looked at his brother Benjamin, the son of his own mother.  Feigning ignorance, he asked, “Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?”  When his brothers acknowledged that this was indeed their youngest brother, Joseph was overcome with emotion.  “May God be gracious to you, my son,” he gasped, before he rushed from the room and raced to his private room.

Tears began to run down his face, as soon as he exited the dining room, and raced to his room.  Joseph quickly slammed the door behind him, threw himself on his cushions and wept with great misery.  How he longed to hold Benjamin in his arms and shower his love on him…  He yearned to see and hold his father again…  And, despite their betrayal of him, his heart ached to love and forgive his other brothers, but could he trust them again?  Finally, after shedding many tears, Joseph regained control over his emotions, washed his face, and returned to the dining room where his brothers and  his cohorts were gathered.  Then he ordered the meal to be served.

Joseph told each of his brothers where to sit, and amazed them by seating them according to their age, from the oldest to the youngest.  The waiters served Joseph and his Egyptian cohorts at his own table, and his brothers were served at a separate table, because Egyptians despised Hebrews and refused to eat with them.  Then Joseph filled his brothers’ plates with food from his own table, giving Benjamin five times as much as he gave his other brothers, and they feasted and drank freely with him.

Adonai had indeed blessed these errant sons of Jacob, by allowing them to feast in the midst of famine.  For the first time in the more than twenty years since their great sin against Adonai and their brother, Joseph, the brothers felt hope arise within them.  Could it be that He had seen that their hearts were broken and contrite?  Had they prayed to Him as their descendant, David, would do one day?

Psalm 51
New Living Translation

Have mercy on me, O God,
    because of Your unfailing love.
Because of Your great compassion,
    blot out the stain of my sins.
Wash me clean from my guilt.
    Purify me from my sin.
For I recognize my rebellion;
    it haunts me day and night.
Against You, and You alone, have I sinned;
    I have done what is evil in Your sight.
You will be proved right in what You say,
    and Your judgment against me is just.
For I was born a sinner—
    yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
But You desire honesty from the womb,
    teaching me wisdom even there.

Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Oh, give me back my joy again;
    You have broken me—
    now let me rejoice.
Don’t keep looking at my sins.
    Remove the stain of my guilt.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.
    Renew a loyal spirit within me.
11 Do not banish me from Your presence,
    and don’t take Your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
    and make me willing to obey You.
13 Then I will teach Your ways to rebels,
    and they will return to You.
14 Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves;
    then I will joyfully sing of Your forgiveness.
15 Unseal my lips, O Lord,
    that my mouth may praise You.

16 You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one.
    You do not want a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifice You desire is a broken spirit.
    You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
18 Look with favor on Zion and help her;
    rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then You will be pleased with sacrifices offered in the right spirit—
    with burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings.
    Then bulls will again be sacrificed on Your altar.

 

© 2019
Cheryl A. Showers

 

Lord Have Mercy!

In a world filled with bitterness and injustice, it’s no accident that after sharing the beatitude about those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, Jesus followed it up with the beatitude on mercy…

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.  (Matthew 5:6-7 NKJV)

In this world, where mothers and fathers mourn the lives of their children, murdered by men full of violence, we need mercy as well as justice.  In this world, where men, women and children are raped and tortured, we need both mercy and justice.  In this world, where governments lie, cheat and steal from their citizens, we need mercy to go hand in hand with justice.

What is mercy anyway?  For much of my life, I’ve confused mercy with forgiveness, but in this study, I was moved to seek out the biblical definition, as well as the world’s definition, and I was surprised to discover that mercy and forgiveness are two different things.  Don’t get me wrong, forgiveness is as essential to our walk with Christ as mercy is, but Jesus addresses that elsewhere.  So, for now, we are going to talk about mercy…

This is dictionary.com’s definition of mercy:

[mur-see]

noun, plural mer·cies for 4, 5.

  1. compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offenderan enemy, or other person in one’s power; compassionpity, or benevolence:  Have mercy on thpoor sinner.
  2. the disposition to be compassionate or forbearing: an adversary wholly without mercy.
  3. the discretionary power of a judge to pardon someone or to mitigate punishment, especially to send to prison rather than invoke the death penalty. 
  4. an act of kindness, compassion, or favor: She has performed countless small mercies for her friends and neighbors.
  5. something that gives evidence of divine favor; blessing: It was just mercy we had our seat belts on when it happened.

According to Strong’s Lexicon, this is the Greek word translated as mercy in this scripture, and its definition:

eleeō

[e-le-e’-ō]

verb

to be compassionate (by word or deed, specially, by divine grace):—have compassion (pity on), have (obtain, receive, shew) mercy (on).

Beloved reader, in this world that often shows little to no compassion for those who are hurt and afflicted, Jesus commands us to be merciful.  In this world of unrighteousness, we are to show mercy to our enemies, to our friends, to our family, to the poor and forgotten… Indeed, we are to show mercy to everyone we come in contact with.

Do you want to receive mercy?  Be merciful.  Show compassion on those who are less fortunate than you are.  Show compassion to those who are more fortunate than you.  Show compassion to all you come in contact with.

Think about it, even as He was suffering, hanging, naked and dying on the cross, Jesus looked down and saw those who had tortured and hung Him gambling over His clothing, and instead of calling on God to strike them dead (which justice surely demanded), He was moved with pity for them.  Can you imagine feeling pity for your tormentors, in the midst of your suffering?  Jesus did, and He cried out to His Father, not to condemn them, but to have mercy on them…

Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”  (Luke 23:34)

Beloved, if Jesus, who was and is wholly righteous, could have mercy enough on those, who yet tortured Him, to forgive them, how can we do any less?  “But He is God,” you might say.  “It’s harder for me to forgive, because I’m not God.”  If you are truly a child of God, then His Spirit lives within you, and enables you to show mercy.

How much harder was it for Jesus, who knew no sin, to suffer at the hands of sinful man?  How much harder was it for Him to have mercy on me, knowing how many times I have let Him down in the past, present and future?  And yet, He continues to pour His mercies on us…

11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
12 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father pities his children,
So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
14 For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.

15 As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
16 For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
And its place remembers it no more.
17 But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
On those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children,
18 To such as keep His covenant,
And to those who remember His commandments to do them.  (Psalm 103:11-18 NKJV)

Beloved, this walk with Christ is not an easy one.  We are tested and tried at every turn, just as Jesus said we would be.  And yet, by His grace, and in His strength, we can run this race, for He will give us the endurance to see it through.  It’s time for us to stop seeing everything through the eyes of the world, and start seeing things through the eyes of Christ.

Do you hunger and thirst for righteousness?  Then you will be filled, as you show mercy to others.  And as you show mercy to others, rejoice!  For you are blessed, and you will receive that same mercy from the God of all mercy, and let’s not forget:

22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”  (Lamentations 3:22-24 NKJV)

© 2019
Cheryl A. Showers

Justice Will Be Served

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled. 

(Matthew 5:6 NKJV)

Do you hate the injustices of this world?  Do you long for the day when those who lie, cheat, steal, kill and destroy will be repaid for their evil?  Do you long for the day when those who have been victimized will be recompensed?

Unlike this world’s “Lady Justice,” God does not turn a blind eye on evil.  He has heard your cries for justice, and mine.  Though He seems slow to answer, He sees the evil that is in this world…

Just as He saw the more than six million Jews, who were killed in the holocaust, He sees every Christian, who has been and who will be persecuted, since Christ’s crucifixion, and unless they repent, the perpetrators will pay for their crimes.  Just as the blood of Abel cried out to Him, when his brother Cain murdered him, God has seen every murder and every crime victim since that time, and their blood, too, cries out to Him (Genesis 4:1-15 NKJV)

Beloved, in our hunger and thirst for righteousness, let us not give way to sin.  Though injustice seems to rule in this world for now, let us do as the Lord commands…

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

(Micah 6:8 NKJV)

We can’t change the behavior of others, but we, who hunger and thirst for righteousness must never allow our righteous indignation to turn into evil.  Let us walk humbly and justly, and let us be merciful, even to those who have shown us no mercy.  Let Christ be our example.  Do you remember what He said as He hung between two thieves on the cross, while soldiers gambled for His clothes?

32 Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with Him.33 When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed Him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified—one on His right and one on His left.  

34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for His clothes by throwing dice.

(Luke 23:32-34 NLT)

If Jesus, in the midst of enduring every injustice, still found mercy to forgive those, who were yet sinning against Him, can we be excused for doing any less?  This walk of faith is not an easy one, and there is so much injustice all around us, yet we are called to live by a different standard than the rest of the world.  We are not called to be vigilantes.  Instead, we are commanded to wait on the Lord, and let Him take vengeance or show mercy, according to His will…

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

(Romans 12:14-21 NKJV)

Beloved, do you hunger and thirst for righteousness?  God knows.  Cast your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.  There is coming a day, when God will judge the earth, and woe to those who have refused to repent for their sins against Him and against you and the rest of humanity.  Do you hunger and thirst for righteousness and justice?  Then you are blessed, and Jesus made a promise to each of us who have that same hunger and thirst…

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.

(Matthew 5:6 NKJV)

© 2019
Cheryl A. Showers

Daddy Make Me Just Like You!

Just recently, I’ve been worshiping to this song by Jason Upton, over and over.  It has become the cry of my heart.  As the daughter of the Most High God, the more I learn of Him through experience and through His Word, I find myself more and more wanting to be like my Abba, my Daddy

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him.10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

1 John 4:7-9  NLT

God is Love.  Real love is that God loved us and sent His Son, Jesus to be a sacrifice for our sins.  I’m not there yet.  God has given me a greater love for mankind than I could ever have imagined, yet, I cannot truthfully say that I would be willing to sacrifice either of my children for anyone’s sake…  Daddy make me just like You!

But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, He will certainly save us from God’s condemnation.10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of His Son while we were still His enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of His Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

Romans 5:8-11  NLT

I have such a hard time loving my enemies.  It’s hard to love someone who hates me or those I love.  Yet my Daddy loved me when I was His enemy.  In fact, before He adopted me, when I was still a child of His enemy, the devil, He loved me and you!  Daddy make me just like You!

But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For He raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of His grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all He has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.

God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.

Ephesians 2:4-10  NLT

God, my Daddy, is rich in love and mercy.  And He has made me, and you, if you are His child, an example of the incredible wealth of His grace and kindness toward us.  Do you wonder how far that grace extends?  His mercy, love, grace and kindness to us is so great that when He raised Christ from the dead, He raised us up right along with Jesus, and seated us in the heavenly realms.  What kind of love is this?  Daddy make me just like You!

How amazing is the love of Father God for His adopted sons and daughters.  How could we not long to be like Him?  Once He has captured our hearts, there is nothing more we can desire than to truly be like Him, and praise God!  He knows that we, in our humanity, could never achieve our hearts desire to be like Him on our own, and so we, the sons and daughters of the Most High God have this assurance…

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Philippians 1:6  NLT

My prayer for each and every child of God is that He will continue His work within each and every one of us, so that each one of us will be like our Daddy…  Daddy make each one of my brothers and sisters in Christ just like You!

© 2017
Cheryl A. Showers

Fight the Good Fight

Fight

by Ben Huberman

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. Not sure how to participate?


What does it mean to fight, and is there ever a good reason to fight?  Is there anything worth fighting for?  Or against?

There are several different definitions for the word fight, in dictionary.com.  However, for the sake of this post, I will use the following definition:


verb (used without object), fought, fighting.

7.

to engage in battle or in single combat; attempt to defend oneself against or to subdue, defeat, or destroy an adversary.

8.

to contend in any manner; strive vigorously for or against something:

He fought bravely against despair.
verb (used with object), fought, fighting.

9.

to contend with in battle or combat; war against:

England fought Germany.

10.

to contend with or against in any manner:

We are currently living in a time, when many of the values that we hold dear in our hearts, are being turned upside down, and those of us, who call ourselves Christians, are expected to accept these changes silently.  If we don’t, we run the risk of being labeled “intolerant,” “homophobes,” “bigots,” “haters,” or worse.  So, we’re left with a question, “Do we strive and fight against these changes that seem to be inevitable, no matter what we do?  Or do we meekly accept the changes that grieve our very souls, in order to keep the peace?”

Fought the Good Fight
I’ve thought and prayed long and hard about these things, and, no matter what the world thinks of me, in the end, I have to be true, not to myself, but to the God and Creator of the universe, the One whom I serve, and love with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength.  When I am at the end of life, here on earth, as we know it now, and I meet with my Father, face to face, I want to be able to look at Him and say, the same words that the Apostle Paul said at the end of his life…

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.


So, what things are worth fighting for?  Certainly the lives of those, who are unable to care for or defend themselves, specifically unborn children.  Although, those who have been pro-choice have tried, for years, to claim that life begins only after a baby is born and takes his/her first breath, ultrasound and many other tests that are done routinely, prove otherwise.

Those of us who are pro-life, know that the instant the sperm fertilizes the egg, life begins, because in order to grow, something must be alive.  We know this from a physical standpoint, when at 12 weeks, we are  first able to hear the heartbeat of that unborn baby, and we know this from a spiritual standpoint, because scripture tells us of this fact…

 


13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body

    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex!
    Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
    as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in Your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.

Psalm 139:13-16 NLT

The Lord gave me this message:

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.
    Before you were born I set you apart
    and appointed you as My prophet to the nations.”

Jeremiah 1:4-5 NLT


Psalm 139-16

According to  the word of God, we live before we are even born, because He already knows us, even then.  Now, whether someone shares my spiritual beliefs or not, is beside the point, because I believe this with all my  heart, and because I believe this, I must fight for the life of every unborn child.  An unborn baby is  not merely a parasite, he/she is a living human.  Therefore, according to the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Regardless of whether you agree with me or not, the fact is, that abortion is the murder of an unborn baby.   Whenever someone snuffs out the life of the unborn child, you are stealing the very rights that every man, woman and child has been endowed with.  With every life that has been taken by means of abortion, you are taking the place of their Creator, and saying that their life is not as important as the mother’s life.  With each abortion, that is performed in this country that guarantees these rights, the child is denied the right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

These are the very things our forefathers believed were worth fighting for.  Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness are God-given rights (They are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…), NOT man-made rights.  Therefore, mankind DOES NOT have the right to take away someone else’s rights, whether those of grown men and women, those of little children and infants, or those of babies, who have yet to draw their first breath, while they grow in the safety of their mothers’ wombs.

As a follower of Christ, I must fight the good fight for these precious children, who are unable to speak for themselves…  Jesus made His love for children very clear, and He also made it clear that those who harm children have a heavy price to pay…

About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”

Jesus called a little child to Him and put the child among them. Then He said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on My behalf is welcoming Me. But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in Me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.

Matthew 18:1-5 NLT

Beloved readers, when I think of the millions of abortions that have been performed in the United States, since Roe vs. Wade in 1973, my heart breaks, because for every single one of those millions of unborn babies who was not welcomed into this world, millions of mothers, fathers, nurses and doctors were not only denying the children their right to live, they were also telling Jesus that He was not welcome in their lives either.

So we come back to the word fight.  Are there things worth fighting for?  Absolutely.  It is certainly worth fighting for the life of every unborn child, who has yet to draw his/her first breath.  Is there anything worth fighting against?  Again, the answer is absolutely.  Until we draw our  final breath, we must fight against evil, no matter what form it takes.

We must fight against the evil of racism, whether it comes in the form of white men hating black, hispanics or other ethnic groups, or whether black men hate white men.  For, no matter what form it comes in, racism is ugly, and those who hate others because of their skin  tone, also hate the God and Creator, who created ALL MANKIND in His image.

We must fight against the evil of sin, in every form, because it, like cancer, kills.  Until we draw our last breath, we must fight against hatred, bitterness, cruelty, and anger.

We must fight against anything that is detrimental to the family, as God created it to be.  For, in order to truly create a family, there needs to be a father (a man), and a mother (a woman).  Since the beginning of time, this has been the only way for a child to be conceived.  Without a man’s sperm, and the woman’s egg joining, mankind will cease to exist, and the fact remains that no matter how man has tried to alter this fact, both a man’s sperm, and a woman’s egg are still required to create life, and it will always be this way, no matter how man may try to alter or procreate in other ways.

Perhaps many of you  are now calling me intolerant, because I say that homosexuality and lesbianism are abhorrent to creation, because no matter what attempts they may make to change this, it cannot be done.  Lesbian women still need man’s sperm cells in order to procreate, and homosexual men still need women’s eggs and their uterus, in order for procreation to occur.  I didn’t design it this way, God our Creator did.  In fact, the Apostle Paul felt that homosexuality was a battle worth fighting over, more than 2 thousand years ago…

24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator Himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. 26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.

28 Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, He abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. 29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. 30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. 31 They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. 32 They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.

Romans 1:24-32  NLT

Now, more than 2 thousand years later, this is still a fight worth fighting.  Numerous children are being led astray by the lies the homosexual community spouts as they try to convince the public that homosexuality and lesbianism are normal, and should be accepted by all.  Yet, the fact remains that this lifestyle is not, nor has it ever been normal or right.  Those who choose to maintain this lifestyle choice do so, in rebellion to God, our Creator.

Ephesians 6-12

I’m sure that there are some, who are very angry and offended by what I have written here, but I don’t write these words to stir up strife.  Let me be very clear to all who question my motives, I do not hate homosexuals and lesbiansIndeed, I love them, for they are men and women, just like those of us who do not participate in that lifestyle.

My children have done many things that I didn’t like, when they were growing up.  Indeed, the truth is, that I hated some of the things they did, but I never once hated my children.  I never once stopped loving them.  The same holds true with those who call themselves gay.  Although I hate the homosexual acts they commit, and though I abhor many of the things they say, I don’t hate them.

Perhaps some of you reading, think me intolerant, and you’re absolutely correct.  As I have stated all along, in this post, there are some things that are worth fighting for, and some things worth fighting against.  Homosexuality, lesbianism, transgenderism, beastiality, pedophilia and other sexually deviant practices are sin against one’s own body, and against the bodies of others, and should not be tolerated, much less encouraged, under any circumstance, and while I have breath, I will speak out against such practices, and I will write against them, because such lifestyles are unhealthy and deadly.

More importantly, I fight against these things, regardless of the consequences, because these practices are against God’s will, and when I stand before my maker one day, I want to be able to say these words to my Lord and Savior:

As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.

2 Timothy 4:6-7 NLT

© 2016
Cheryl A. Showers

How Can You Mend a Guilty Heart?

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

Smith_guiltHave you ever felt the devastation of guilt? Do you know what it is to be weighed down by the heaviness of regret for not doing the things you should have done? Have you experienced the anguish that comes from a guilt-ridden conscience, because you did the wrong thing? Have you ever felt the endless torment of knowing that you not only let yourself down, but even worse, you failed God?

I’ve known that pain, and I felt as though the guilt and shame would kill me. I’ve known what it is to lose all hope, because the guilt and shame that I carried convinced me that I was unlovable, and that my sins were unforgivable. And though others showed me much mercy, and tried to comfort me, telling me that I hadn’t failed God, in my heart, I knew better.

GuiltYou see, even though things may seem right in the eyes of man, it doesn’t change the fact that they are wrong. Even though others tried to console me, and even though they saw no wrongdoing on my part, I knew I had sinned against God. Therefore, I did what I had always been taught to do as a Christian. I confessed my sin to God.

But if we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. ~ 1 John 1:9 — NLT ~

guilt2Have you ever confessed your sins to God and still felt the heavy weight of guilt and shame? Have you ever questioned whether you truly are forgiven? Do you know what it is to doubt your own heart? Have you ever seen the error of your ways and wondered if your whole life was a lie? 

That’s how I felt. Do you remember the scripture where Jesus describes what will happen to some who did many things in His name?

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” ~ Matthew 7:21-23 — NKJV ~

I was so wracked with guilt that I wondered if I was one of those who had prophesied in His name, and yet never knew Him. Was I mistaken to believe that I was a child of God? Had I been presumptive in assuming that I was saved? I had believed some things that I’ve since discovered weren’t true. So now, what could I do?

I could start anew. I could go back to the One True Source of all wisdom. I could look to God’s word, and find life.

sharper than any swordFor the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. ~ Hebrews 4:12 — NLT ~

So, how can you mend a heart that has been shattered by guilt and shame? How do you rid your heart from the doubts that have been sown within it, by that same guilt and shame? You go back to the basics…

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

As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous— not even one.~ Romans 3:10 — NLT ~

all have sinnedAccording to God’s word, I was no different than everyone else. I had sinned, just as everyone else has sinned. Therefore, although my guilty conscience said otherwise, according to the scriptures, which are God-breathed, I was no worse than anyone else… and it goes without saying that I am certainly no better.

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. ~ John 3:16-17 — 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. 11 As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in Him will never be disgraced.” 12 Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on Him. 13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
~ Romans 10:9-13 — NLT ~

confess-with-your-mouth-believe-with-your-heart-you-will-be-saved-romans-10-9I do confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord. He is the Lord and Master of everything. And He is certainly the Lord and Master of my life. And yes — I DO believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. I believe it with my whole heart.

And yet, how could I know for sure that I was truly saved and forgiven? Have you ever needed reassurance? Have you ever been so consumed by the guilt and shame, that you just needed some assurance that you were indeed saved and forgiven?

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. ~ Ephesians 2:8-9 — NKJV ~

17 So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ. ~ Romans 10:17 — NLT ~

saved-by-grace-through-faithDo you see? When the time comes that we have failed God and ourselves, so that we are riddled with guilt and shame, causing us to doubt whether we can be forgiven, and whether we are truly even saved, that is when we must have faith in Christ. And this faith is not something we can earn by being good enough or by doing enough good deeds. This faith in Christ is quite simply a gift given by our gracious Almighty God, and the more we hear His word spoken aloud, the stronger our faith grows. 

Now, I won’t tell you that going to church will save you, because the church can’t save anyone. And the scriptures make it very clear that salvation is a gift from God. However, I will tell you that when you gather together with your brothers and sisters in Christ, your faith will grow.

24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. ~ Hebrews 10:24-25 — NLT ~

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. ~ Proverbs 27:17 — NLT ~

iron-sharpens-ironYou see, when I was so addled with guilt and shame, my natural instinct was to pull away from other believers, for in my shame, I didn’t feel that I was worthy of their love, and worse yet, I didn’t feel worthy of God’s love. And so it was, that by pulling away from other believers, my faith began to weaken, for I had no one to pray for me and with me. By hiding myself away, I had no one to encourage me and speak life to me, and I became consumed by the fear of dying. 

And yet, though I was brought low, God, in His infinite mercy and grace, never let me go. He never forsook me. You see, it was also during this time, that He was leading me to leave the fellowship that I had been a part of for more than three years. I no longer belonged there, and at the time, I felt as though that was my punishment — to no longer belong in His house. But I was wrong. 

I no longer belonged in that fellowship, because God was calling me elsewhere. A sister in Christ had been placing posts on Facebook about the church that she had been attending for quite awhile, and I felt the Spirit leading  me to go to this house of worship, and yet, I was hesitant, because the weight of my guilt and shame left me weary and fearful. What if I still didn’t belong here either? 

And yet, I still felt a pull to go to this church, and one thing was for sure… I was sick and tired of being sick and tired! I hadn’t gone to worship with other Christians since before Thanksgiving, and I was hungry! I was hungry to worship and sing to God corporately with other believers, and I was hungry and thirsty to hear the word of God spoken. And so, two Sundays ago, I determined that I would attend worship service at the church my friend had been writing about for so long. 

Beloved reader, do you know what it’s like to walk straight into the will of God? Do you know how good it is to receive confirmation and encouragement from His sweet Holy Spirit… to know that Jesus really does love you? I knew that I had stepped right into His perfect will for me that Sunday. The worship was like honey to my lips. And the preached word pierced right through my broken heart, as the Lord began to mend it with this message about guilt and God’s forgiveness. 

You see, beloved reader, the scripture that says, For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved,” is true. During this whole trial, I called on His name, and He saved my life from the pit. But it wasn’t enough to merely rescue me, for you see, His love for us is much too great to stop there. That’s why He not only forgives our sins when we confess them to Him, He also cleanses us from all unrighteousness. He heals the brokenhearted. Beloved reader, He healed my broken heart. And if He did that for me, He will certainly do the same for you. Just do as I did, confess your sin, and call upon His name — JESUS!!!

© 2014
Cheryl A. Showers

A Reason to Rejoice!

Image Credit: William Hole
Image Credit:
William Hole

9 As Jesus was walking along, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow Me and be My disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed Him.

 

10 Later, Matthew invited Jesus and His disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. 11 But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked His disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?”

 

12 When Jesus heard this, He said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” 13 Then He added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

~ Matthew 9:9-13 — NLT ~

ocsoldier.blogspot.com
ocsoldier.blogspot.com

Imagine what Matthew must have felt like when Jesus called him. He was a Jew, and yet he was hated by his fellow Jews because he worked for Herod Antipas, collecting taxes from the people. Not only that, tax collectors had a reputation of being extremely corrupt, extorting far more money from citizens than what the actual taxes were. Therefore, knowing how his people felt about him, with good reason, imagine how Matthew must have felt when Jesus came to his tax booth, and looking him straight in the eye, invited him to join His disciples.

Image Credit: http://vimeo.com/62820471
Image Credit:
http://vimeo.com/62820471

I can’t help but wonder how Matthew felt. Did he hurry and leave his tax booth immediately to follow Jesus, joyfully bidding his fellow tax collectors and other sinners that he knew, a fond farewell, inviting them to join him for dinner later that evening, where Jesus would be the distinguished guest of honor?  I can only wonder at his joy and excitement.

As he followed Jesus that first day, what words of wisdom did he hear? Did he witness any miracles or deliverances that day? As he walked along with the One who was the Way, the Truth and the Life, did he feel humbled and grateful?

Later that evening, after spending his first day with Jesus, Matthew must have been overflowing with joy as his guests began to arrive and he proudly introduced them to Jesus. How his joy must have melted into shame as he heard the Pharisees questioning the disciples…

But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked His disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?”

~ Matthew 9:11 — NLT ~

Image Credit: tvaraj2inspirations.wordpress.com/
Image Credit:
tvaraj2inspirations.wordpress.com/

Have you ever felt like dirt? Have you ever been on the mountaintop, only to have someone trash you, revealing all of your shortcomings and weaknesses to those you most wanted to love you? Do you know what its like to feel exposed and vulnerable? I suspect Matthew may have felt like that for awhile, until Jesus responded to the Pharisees…

12 When Jesus heard this, He said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” 13 Then He added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

~ Matthew 9:12-13 — NLT ~

Image Credit: everydaywithgrace.com
Image Credit:
everydaywithgrace.com

Can you even begin to imagine the joy and the relief Matthew must have felt as heard Jesus’ words? The Pharisees hadn’t revealed anything that Jesus didn’t already know! He already knew of Matthew’s sins, as well as those of his friends, but He chose to give them mercy and grace.

Jesus was the great physician, who had come to heal the sin-sick tax collectors and disreputable sinners, He, who had never sinned, never lied, and never cheated, wasn’t ashamed to be associated with Matthew and his sinful friends. Instead of condemning the sinners, Jesus had come to call them, just as He had called Matthew and all of the other disciples.

What’s more, not only did Jesus defend Matthew and the other sinners, He also did the unthinkable. How shocked Matthew, the other disciples, and the sinners must have been… How shocked the Pharisees must have been, when Jesus rebuked them as He ordered them to leave…

… “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.

~ Matthew 9:13 — NLT ~

Hallelujah! This scripture passage gives me such hope, as it should to everyone who reads this post and realizes that they too are sinners who have fallen short of the glory of God. Yes, I’ve sinned. I’ve made such a mess of so many things in my life, and I am fully aware of my weaknesses.

So, my beloved readers, how do you feel about this scripture passage? Does it bless your heart? When you read it, do you feel peace? Love? Joy? Hope? Leave me a comment and let me know how this scripture passage makes you feel. May the Lord bless you, my friends!

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Silver Bullet Prayer direction for current situation – written by my pastor‏

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

Greetings Beloved Readers,

Forgive me, because it has been awhile since I’ve posted any letters from our sister in Israel. Unfortunately, due to my illness and my vacation, I’ve fallen way behind, and I will do my best to catch you up. 

Meanwhile, there is an urgent need for prayer that just came today, for the nation of Israel, and our beloved sister in Israel has sent us a letter from her pastor. Please read this entire letter and begin to pray as the letter directs. It is vital, both for our friend and her pastor, and for the nation of Israel, and for us as well. I truly believe that this is a mandate from the Lord, calling for us to pray for Israel, and He is showing us exactly how to pray for Israel in these last days.

May the Lord bless you, my beloved readers, as you join with me in fervent and urgent, but not panicked prayer. One more thing for you to know, our sister has asked that her name not be revealed, for obvious reasons, and I’ve done the same for her pastor, changing his name to Pastor, where it was written before. And now the letter from our sister’s pastor…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Prayer Priority Alert

An American attack on Syria seems to be imminent.
An American attack on Syria seems to be imminent, and Arab leaders warn of terrible consequences to Israel, if Syria is attacked.

Arab leaders spew bellicose threats
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is quoted as saying: “The intervention of America will be a disaster for the region. The region is like a gunpowder store, and the future cannot be predicted.”^1

Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi warned that, “The basic repercussion would be a ball of fire that would burn not only Syria but the whole Middle East.”^1

In Israel
Thousands of Jews and Arabs line up at gas mask distribution to get their gas masks in preparation for a possible counter attack from Syria and Lebanon (Hezbollah).

Patriot anti-missile batteries in Haifa are put on alert, Netanyahu convenes security cabinet, and IDF announces major drill on Golan Heights (meaning the IDF is moving troops to the Golan if it is ordered to attack Syria, or if Syria launches a ground attack into the Golan.

But don’t get rattled or excited in the flesh – it won’t help

In 2006, at the beginning of the Lebanon War, as I began to pray earnestly for our security situation and the war (which was not going well at the time), the Lord stopped me in the middle of my praying. He warned me, “Pastor, do not pray your opinions to me, pray what I show you!”

I took that to mean that I should not pray out of excitement, or be animated by my emotions or flesh, or even let my prayers be guided mostly by the newspaper headlines. So often, we are unaware that we are praying that way. Rather, He wanted to lead me by His Spirit, that I might pray what was strategic to Him.

But Abraham stood yet before the LORD… Abraham drew near…


When the Lord came to Abraham and revealed to him that He was on His way to judge Sodom, Abraham’s response to the news, is instructive.

“And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD. And Abraham drew near…” Gen. 18:20-22

I take this to mean that Abraham turned His heart to God; he drew near to God rather than allow himself to let his emotions and flesh run wild with speculation and anticipation. Rather, he approached God with the full weight and impact of God’s Word and revelation of His nature and character. These were the only things guiding His intercession on behalf of Sodom! Who knows what prayers he would have prayed otherwise?

So, I urge you to actually turn to God, get a hold of His Word and ask Him to lead you in your prayers and intercession on behalf of Israel now.

You should remind yourself that God is sovereign, especially in all that pertains to Israel’s restoration and protection. How beautifully it is expressed in Isaiah 54.

“And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.14 In righteousness shall you be established: you shall be far from oppression; for you shall not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee. 15 Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake. 16 Behold, I have created the smith that blows the coals in the fire, and that brings forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy. 17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, says the LORD.” Is. 54:13-17

This is just one of hundreds of promises and declarations of God’s purpose in these days, to restore Israel to the Land and to Himself.

If you let His Word fill your heart, you will find faith arise in your heart –His Word is the fuel of our faith. His Word will inspire, lead, and guide your praying, and you will be taken into a realm of prayer and intercession that, you have not experienced before.

There, when you are in the Spirit, you will pray boldly and on subjects that you have not thought of, but that He wants you to pray. And when you pray His Will, you have the confidence that He will answer.

One example scripture that can inspire and guide your praying…

Zechariah 12:

Vs. 1 – The Lord’s sovereignty as creator and giver of life to man – this is how this chapter opens – get a hold of it and it will keep you from panic praying.

Vs. 2-3 A warning to all the nations who take Israel and Jerusalem a their problem to solve or resist.

Vs 4, 9 God personally battles the nations who come against Israel (whether diplomatically or militarily).

Vs.5-6 What God does for the governors and leaders of Israel.

Vs. 7-8 What God does for and within the nation of Israel

Vs. 10-13:1 Spiritual restoration of Israel is part of all of this conflict!

If you take time with this chapter, praying through it, giving God glory for His sovereignty, worshipping Him as creator, you will be enabled to have faith for the rest of it, and that makes all the difference.

We will continue to keep you posted as the situation unfolds. The papers are saying that the American attack could come as early as tomorrow, but nothing is for sure.

Blessings from Israel,

Pastor

Desolate…

Five Sentence Fiction – Desolate

What it’s all about: Five Sentence Fiction is about packing a powerful punch in a tiny fist. Each week I will post a one word inspiration, then anyone wishing to participate will write a five sentence story based on the prompt word. The word does not have to appear in your five sentences, just use it for direction.
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Lillie McFerrin Five Sentence Fiction

Sharp, piercing pain brutally ripped through her heart, leaving her desolate, as she watched the soldiers and centurions slay both her husband and her children, burning them on Nero’s wicked stakes, because they refused to pronounce Nero was a god, and renounce Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Still, she held her head high, refusing to give her enemies the satisfaction of seeing how deeply wounded she was, as she boldly made eye contact with as many of the people in the jeering, murderous crowd as she could, and spoke to the members of the inquest, who had carried her to the arena, to be eaten and mauled to death by the hungry lions. Continue reading Desolate…

My Confession

Trifextra: Week Sixty-Nine

This weekend we are asking for a thirty-three word confession.  You’re free to write non-fiction or fiction or to blur the lines in between.  We just encourage you to get creative and give us your best.
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Photo Courtesy of: http://www.autostraddle.com/playlisRain By Katie Tegtmeyert-when-youre-feeling-helpless-148190/
Photo Courtesy of:
http://www.autostraddle.com/playlisRain
By Katie Tegtmeyert-when-youre-feeling-helpless-148190/

Lord, I’ve cheated and I’ve lied
I’ve laughed and then I’ve cried

On my own I am lost
And over the line I crossed

O Lord, please forgive me
Set this sinner free!

Who are you?

Who are you? This is the catch,  you can’t say:

  1. your name
  2. your occupation (including students), or anything else that you spend your time doing
  3. your relationship to others (e.g. I am the daughter of so and so, or I am the friend of so and so)
  4. anything that you own or possess

Your answer has to define who you are from the inside, not with reference to anything external, including other people (or pets!), or how you pass time. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Photo Credit: http://www.fuentesevangelism.com/holy-spirit-by-power5.jpg

I am a Spirit-filled woman of God, who has been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not because of my own goodness (because I when I met Him, I was anything but good), but because of His goodness and mercy. I was created, as all people are, for the glory of God, and it is when I am glorifying Him, that I am most fully who I am… the Spirit-filled woman of God… me.

I am a woman of great joy, as is anyone who has been set free from a prison of fear and pain. I walk in that joy at all times, even in the midst of physical pain, because even in the midst of all that pain, I know that it will pass… that there are others who have suffered far more than me… that one day, I will feel no more pain… that in my weakness, His strength is made perfect… This is who I was created to be, and joy is an integral part of who I am, again, not from my own merit, but because this is who God created me to be.

Photo Credit: http://media-cache0.pinterest.com/upload/25473554112709347_d0j2UHoa_b.jpg

I am forgiven and forgiving. Because I have been forgiven much, I am able to forgive much… There are times when I am extremely angry… when someone hurts me or someone I love… when I see the victims of tragedies… when I see injustice… when I witness sin in me or in someone else… when what is right is called wrong, and what is wrong is called right… But I am able to forgive the men, women and sometimes even children, who commit these sins and atrocities, because I too have sinned and fall far short of God’s glory, and if He forgave my sins, then how can I not forgive the sins of others? 

I am loved and loving. Because God loves me, I am a woman of love. I love those who love me back, and I also love those who hate me. I love those who treat me kindly, and I also love those who have hurt me, abused me, rejected me, cursed me and treated me unfairly. I don’t like what they have done to me, but I love the people, not because I’m a great person. Believe me, if you knew me, you would see my flaws, and how I have struggled to love those who have “done me wrong.” I am a woman of love because I am loved by God. Do you know that even when I was in the midst of my deepest, darkest sin, He loved me? Oh, and get this… He didn’t just tolerate me or say He loves me. No, He loves me passionately, knowing what I’ve done, and what’s been done to me. He loves me with a love that is indescribable, and He wooed me with His love, and I couldn’t help myself. He sent His only Son to pay my death penalty for the sins I had committed. I fell head over heals in love with Him, and the funny thing is, the deeper my love for Him grows, the deeper my love for others grows.

Photo Credit:
http://thrasheradoption.blogspot.com/2012/02/mommy-who-jesus-loves.html

In summation, who am I? I am a Spirit-filled, joyful, forgiving and loving woman, because Christ changed me from a spiritless, melancholy, unforgiving and bitter woman when He gave me new life.

© 2013
Cheryl A. Showers

Trifecta Challenge: Heal

Trifecta Challenge: Heal
The Trifecta Word Challenge this week is:

HEAL

1a : to make sound or whole <heal a wound>
b : to restore to health
2a : to cause (an undesirable condition) to be overcome: mend <the troubles … had not been forgotten, but they had been healed — William Power>
b : to patch up (a breach or division) <heal a breach between friends>
3: to restore to original purity or integrity <healed of sin>
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“Oh God, why did I do it?” she whispered, heart pounding loudly in her ears, as the officer pulled her arms behind her back, cuffing her. Suffocating shame enveloped her in its darkness, as she was fingerprinted, booked and led to a cell filled with three other women, who brazenly looked her over. Never, in a million years, had she ever dreamed this would happen.

http://www.laportecountysheriff.com/jail/jaildiv.html
http://www.laportecountysheriff.com/jail/jaildiv.html

She fought the tears that rose in her eyes, as she walked over to the only unoccupied cot, sitting on it and drawing her legs up to her chest, trying desperately to shrink away into nothingness. Fear also crept over her, wrapping its clammy fingers around her heart, threatening to squeeze the life out of it. She closed her eyes to avoid looking into the curious faces of the others who occupied the dank cell with her.

“Lord forgive me,” she silently prayed. “I knew it was wrong, but I did it anyway, with no thoughts of anyone but myself.” The wounded look on her parents’ faces when she was arrested haunted her, though not as badly as the terror in the eyes of the girl she had pummeled in a fit of rage and jealousy.

“Guilty,” she thought to herself, shuddering from the weight of it. “Oh God,” she whispered as the tears slipped from beneath her closed eyelids, “I could have killed her. I wanted to kill her,” she wept, awash with fresh guilt and shame.

“I deserve to die,” she thought, “I want to die. Oh God, who knew I was so evil?”

“The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked,” she heard the gentle voice of the Lord, “who can know how bad it really is? I know,” He said, “because I have searched your heart.”

“Oh Lord, forgive me! I know what I did was wrong, and I deserve whatever punishment I receive, but Lord, heal me and I shall be healed. Save me and I shall be saved!” she cried desperately.

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

Daily Prompt: Dear Mom

Write a letter to your mom. Tell her something you’ve always wanted to say, but haven’t been able to. 
Daily Prompt: Dear Mom

Dear Mom,

A birthday cake
A birthday cake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s interesting how the Lord works. Today, the day before your birthday, the daily prompt is to write a letter to you and tell you something that I’ve always wanted to say, but haven’t been able to. And now, when I could say something to you about this, I find that I can’t, because I don’t think you would understand, and I don’t want to cause you anymore hurt or confusion than you already have to deal with. Therefore, I’ll write this letter to the woman you used to be, the younger you, who would be able to comprehend what I’m saying.

I love you Mom, and I want to tell you that I finally understand. I couldn’t have told you this years ago, because I didn’t understand then. I was so ravaged with my own pain that I was unable to understand why you abused me, and why you allowed Dad to abuse me as he did. I always wanted to ask you, “Why?” and, “How could you?”

I remember when I confronted you and Dad about the abuse and told you how deeply it hurt me, I didn’t ask why, because for some reason, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. And the truth is, I don’t think you could have told me why, because I don’t think you understood it yourself. But Mom, I get it now. I understand why, and I understand how you could have done it and allowed it, and I wish I could share it with you so that you could understand yourself, and forgive yourself.

You grew up in such a painful dysfunctional family, and you tried so hard to always say the right thing and do the right thing, and I understand how horrible it is when you have so much self-disgust. I understand what it’s like to think you’re not quite good enough, and to try and hide behind a mask of self-confidence, because you’re so fearful that if anyone discovered the truth about how you really feel, and what you really think, they would hate you as much as you hate yourself, and that could destroy you. Mom, I wish that you knew that I understand because I used to have those same feelings, and they’re wrong.

You never had to bury and hide the real you because God loved you anyway, and I would have loved you no matter what. In fact, I did and I do love you in spite of the years of abuse. I loved you despite the fact that you allowed Dad to continue abusing me, because you couldn’t handle the truth.

I understand so much Mom, because I inherited some of your coping mechanisms. It’s easier for me to ignore the unpleasant things in life, rather than facing them until I have no choice. It’s easier for me to wear my happy mask than to be open and let others see what I’m really feeling. It’s easier for me to be “strong” and numb, hiding my feelings even from myself, rather than acknowledging and allowing myself to feel pain, sadness and sorrow, and anger. But the problem with living like this is that it’s all to easy for our whole lives to become a lie, and when we refuse to feel, our hearts become hardened, and then it becomes all to easy for us to begin hurting others… Hurting people hurt people.

Mom, I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit who lives in me, because I could have very easily turned into a hardened, embittered woman, who is unable to love her family and those outside of her family, because she has no love or mercy for herself. Mom, I wish you could see yourself as God sees you. You are a beautiful woman, who has suffered much, and that suffering could have been used for good, if you had allowed it.

Even now, that you’re in the nursing home, I think that if you would allow Jesus to heal your broken places, He would give you peace, and empathy for others. My prayer for you, Mom, is that you would know Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, and that you would allow Him to be Lord of your life, so that He could begin the good work of healing you from all of the years of pain that you’ve held bound in your broken  heart. I pray that you would know, as all of God’s people should know, the length and the width, the great heights and the depths of God’s love for you. And I pray that you would love yourself as God loves you. I pray that you would know real peace and real joy, both here and now, and in the next life.

This is what I would express to you if you could understand. I love you Mom, and I pray that you have a wonderful, blessed birthday.

Love always,
Cheryl

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

Words of Jesus – Fasting in the Secret Place

 “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” (Matthew 6:16-18 NLT)

Other people’s opinions didn’t seem to matter to Jesus. In fact, the ONLY opinion that mattered to Him was His Father’s, and if we’re to follow after Him, then that’s where our hearts must be also.

It is easy for us to get so caught up in trying to please or impress others, that we often lose sight of what’s really important. Sometimes I get so frustrated with myself, because I want to please the Lord, and yet, all too often, I find myself trying to please my pastor, or other members of the church, knowing that this is not pleasing to God… Not only do I end up not pleasing God, I think I even grieve His Spirit, and that’s just horrible.

Let me explain. Every year, at the beginning of the year, the pastor calls for a fast. Now, that’s not a bad thing, but has it become a tradition, a ritual, a religious act? I comply with this every year, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. But here’s the issue I have with this – This is not something Holy Spirit is leading me to do, and I end up doing it merely because I’m a leader of the church and it’s expected of me. And throughout the 21 days of the fast (yes, it’s always 21 days), I struggle because I have not been led by the Spirit to do this.

It’s totally different when I hear the Spirit telling me to fast. Four years ago, when I went to jail to minister one Sunday, I was asked by the guards and the inmates to visit another inmate in her cell, who was having seizures. Now this was highly irregular. I am not normally allowed to go on the block, but the Lord was moving. I went back there, and as soon as I saw her, I knew that she was not merely having seizures. She was demonized.

It was amazing, because I felt no fear or nervousness in the situation. You see, I knew I wasn’t in charge. Jesus was totally in control, but although I bound those demons, I saw no change in this woman’s condition, and it grieved me. Later, after I left the jail, I prayed and I asked Jesus why the demons did not stop tormenting this woman, and I heard the Lord speak very clearly to me, “This kind only comes out by prayer and fasting.”

Cover of "Fasting: Opening the door to a ...
Cover via Amazon

I knew what I had to do. I went on a clear liquid fast, and a friend loaned me Jentezen Franklin‘s book, Fasting: Opening the Door to a Deeper, More Intimate, More Powerful Relationship With God“.  (If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it!) I started out planning to fast for 21 days, until I read the chapter about the flies, and I heard the Lord speak to me again. He told me this was to be a 40 day fast. It was amazing.

I went to two women’s retreats during that fast, and if any of you have gone on retreats, you know that good food and fine dining are a part of the fun, but I was okay. I went to restaurants with my friends, and we had a great time, and I wasn’t even tempted to eat, because the presence of the Lord was so strong in me and I didn’t want to do anything to quench His Spirit and what He was doing in me and for the women that I ministered to in prison. This was a fast that the Lord called me to go on, and it had a purpose – His purpose.

The next time I ministered in jail after this fast was completed, unbeknownst to me, the woman who I had ministered to before attended the church service. Now you need to know that I had never seen her in a church service before, nor since I had ministered to her in her cell, and I had only seen her the one time.

As I was ministering, I looked to the back of the room, and I began to prophesy to this woman. Her countenance was changed and I didn’t recognize her at first, until the Lord revealed to me that she was the one that I had fasted and prayed for. I looked in her eyes and I told her that I had been fasting and praying for her for forty days. As she began to cry, I told her that she wasn’t just having seizures, she was demonized. She nodded her head as the tears flowed, and told me that since that Sunday when I had ministered to her, she hadn’t had anymore seizures, but prior to that, for several months, she had been having seizures multiple times a day. I was amazed by what the Lord had done, and that He had given me the privilege of being a part of His kingdom.

So this brings me back to what I was talking about earlier… Somewhere in the four years since that time, I feel like I lost something that I’m just now starting to get back. I love my pastor and my church, but I love the Lord more. One of the things our church is so proud of is the fact that we are not traditional or religious, and we follow Holy Spirit, and yet, the truth is, we are human, and our pride in this has blinded us to the fact that like so many, we have become traditional and religious…

No, we don’t have bulletins and programs and rote prayers like some denominational churches, but we have become traditional in other ways… And please don’t think I’m dishonoring my church by speaking this way, because as I said before, I love my pastor and the members of my church very much. And the truth is, on this side of heaven, there is no perfect church yet, until Jesus returns from glory and separates the goats and the sheep… and helps us sheep get right too.

Here is where the real problem is… I have become traditional and religious and I have grieved Holy Spirit, and this grieves me. I hear the Lord saying to me, I hate all your festivals and sacrifices. I cannot stand the sight of them! From now on, when you lift up your hands in prayer, I will refuse to look. Even though you offer many prayers, I will not listen. For your hands are covered with the blood of your innocent victims. Wash yourselves and be clean! Let Me no longer see your evil deeds. Give up your wicked ways. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the orphan. Fight for the rights of widows.

“Come now, let us argue this out,” says the LORD. “No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it. I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you as white as wool.” (Isaiah 1:14-18 NLT)

I hear You calling to me, Lord, and I repent. Forgive me for grieving You, for trying to please everyone and offend no one, and by doing this, I offended and displeased You. Forgive me Lord and change my heart. I repent Lord and I humble myself under Your righteous right hand. I will fast when YOU lead me to fast. I will serve YOU first – help me to be attentive to Your word. In Jesus’ name, amen.

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

Reconcile!

 

http://www.inyamuakut.com/2011/06/offering-time.html

“So if you are standing before the altar in the Temple, offering a sacrifice to God, and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there beside the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God. Come to terms quickly with your enemy before it is too late and you are dragged into court, handed over to an officer, and thrown in jail. I assure you that you won’t be free again until you have paid the last penny.” (Matthew 5:23-26 NLT)

This scripture is rich, but as I sat here reading it, wondering if I fully understand how to explain it, Holy Spirit led me to read it in another version… Actually, I’m going to use a paraphrase from The Message Bible… Hallelujah! Don’t you love how the Lord makes things plain for us?

http://gslchurchnew.org/ministries/resource/finance/

“This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God. “Or say you’re out on the street and an old enemy accosts you. Don’t lose a minute. Make the first move; make things right with him. After all, if you leave the first move to him, knowing his track record, you’re likely to end up in court, maybe even jail. If that happens, you won’t get out without a stiff fine.” (Matthew 5:23-26 MSG)

Now this is Jesus speaking to us. “This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters.” The bible is not only our love letter from God, it’s also our instruction manual. Do you want to know how to respond to a particular situation? Pray, then seek the answer in the instruction manual… 🙂 

“If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right.”  

Do you get what Jesus just said here? Boy, (now I’m going to step on some toes), this isn’t a message I’ve ever heard preached… Listen to this now, if you’re in church, worshiping, thinking about the argument you just had with whomever, abandon your offering… throw it down on the pew, back in your purse, whatever – drop it! Oh, and I love this part – immediately!

Wow! I always get pictures of things in my mind when I read something or think of something, and I boy do I have a mental picture right now! I wonder how many people would get up and run out of church on any given Sunday, if everyone actually obeyed this command? And it is a command!

Wouldn’t it be awesome if that happened? Can you see it? They’re singing the offering song, and as people are fishing around in their wallets and purses, a video flashes on the screens of their minds, of the argument they just had with someone, and several throw their purses or wallets down and run out. Everyone’s heads turn around to see what the commotion at the back of the church is all about, and suddenly they think of someone that they offended… maybe they didn’t say a word to that person… maybe that person just misunderstood them, but they know that person was offended, and up till now, they didn’t do anything about it. But NOW, as the Holy Spirit convicts them, they throw their money down and rush out the door… or maybe over to a brother or sister in the next pew… and they apologize and ask for forgiveness

I would love to be in that church service…  Lord, let me be bold enough to do just that, in Jesus’ name!

Now, after you make things right with the person you offended, you can come back and make your offering. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God.

Do you know one thing that irritates me with too many Christians? They are quick to pray, “O God, forgive me for cussing so and so out. Have mercy on me! I’m sorry Lord,” but they never seek forgiveness from the one they hurt.

Many times, it never occurs to someone that it isn’t enough to say you’re sorry to God. He wants us to be reconciled with the people that we’ve hurt… He even wants us to be reconciled with the people who have hurt us…

“Or say you’re out on the street and an old enemy accosts you. Don’t lose a minute. Make the first move; make things right with him. After all, if you leave the first move to him, knowing his track record, you’re likely to end up in court, maybe even jail. If that happens, you won’t get out without a stiff fine.”

Ok, so I’m walking down the sidewalk and someone from my past, who tormented me, approaches me. Notice the scripture doesn’t say that you were necessarily the one in the wrong… it could be that the other person hurt you. Go make peace with them anyway. There’s such wisdom in that… and it seems so wrong to my flesh…

Now wait just a minute, Lord! Are you trying to tell me that I need to approach that no good so and so after all the hell they put me through? Lord, have You lost Your mind?

“Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible.” (Romans 12:18 NLT)

http://jesuschristblog.blog.com/2010/08/08/forgiveness-part-1/

But Lord, they hurt me!

“You hurt Me, and I forgave you.”

But they lied about me!

“You lied about Me too, and I forgave you.”

But they deserve to be punished!

“Beloved, you deserve hell, but I paid the price for you so that you wouldn’t have to go there. Forgive them, and you will be forgiven.”

But Lord, it still hurts!

http://diggingtheword.blogspot.com/2011/10/jesus-power-to-forgive.html

“I know, My love, but that’s because you won’t let it go. Forgive them, Child, let it go, and I will carry your pain.”

Lord, I don’t know if I can…

“You can’t do it on your own, but you can do all things through Me. I will give you My strength to forgive and overcome the pain – if you want it.”

I do want it Lord. By Your grace and Your power, I can go to my enemy who hurt me and I can forgive in Your precious name.”

Hallelujah! Enough said? Be blessed and be reconciled brothers and sisters!

© 2012
Cheryl A. Showers

Words of Jesus – Blessed Are The Merciful

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matthew 5:7 NASB)

Mercy – compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power; compassion, pity, or benevolence…

What a powerful scripture! “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matthew 5:7 NASB). What is Jesus saying here? Blessed is the person who is compassionate and kind toward someone who has offended him/her. Jesus was so radical! Blessed is the person who is patient with his/her offender. Blessed is the person who refrains from lashing out at his/her offender, who refrains from taking revenge on his/her offender. Blessed is the person who tolerates his/her offender.

Wow! This goes against the grain of all that the world teaches us… I have to treat my enemy with compassion and pity… Mercy is benevolence – not only do I refrain from taking revenge, I must also show that person kindness! Brothers and sisters, do you want the Lord to give you mercy? Then you must give those who have harmed you mercy.

Jesus makes it clear – you wanna be blessed? You wanna receive mercy? Then you have to give it away first. Sometimes His math just doesn’t make any sense to us. I have to give if I want to get…

And what about justice? I don’t know about any of you, but my heart (which is desperately wicked, by the way) cries out for justice! Why should I show mercy to the very ones who have wounded me? Shouldn’t they get what they deserve? 

And then I hear the Lord speak to me… “Do you want justice or vengeance?”

“Well aren’t they the same?” I question. Silence… OK – so I’ll look the definition up…

Vengeance – infliction of injury, harm, humiliation, or the like, on a person by another who has been harmed by that person…

Justice – the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness; the administering of deserved punishment or reward.

Hmmm… “Can I have both?” I ask only half-jokingly. Silence again… So He wants me to figure this out, and the truth is that I already know what I want. You see, I’ve been really horribly hurt – damaged by someone who was supposed to love me and protect me, and my flesh wants vengeance. My flesh wants that person to hurt at least as badly as I was hurt. My flesh wants that person to beg me for mercy…

“Did I make you beg Me for mercy?” I hear a voice speak to me. “Should I show you mercy or do you want justice? Or perhaps you would rather I seek vengeance against you?”

When I think about my life and all of the people I’ve hurt, whether wittingly or unwittingly, I shudder. When I think of the times in my life when I purposely rejected Jesus and went my own way, I feel a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. When I think about the justice I deserve or the vengeance I could receive, I am ashamed.

But still, I have to be honest with the Lord (I might as well be – He knows it all anyway!). “Lord, I don’t know how to me merciful, because my heart is cold… my heart has been broken… I can’t do it on my own. Will You help me?”

I don’t hear His voice this time, but I sense His presence, as He wraps His loving arms around me, cradling me as I cry, releasing all of the pain that’s been bottled up for so many years… And when every last tear is spent, something miraculous happens. I’m not hurt or angry anymore. As I feel Holy Spirit’s power coursing through my veins, I feel joy and peace. Even more amazing, the hatred and bitterness are gone, and I feel love for my perpetrator.

Now, I am able to show him not only mercy, but grace… “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matthew 5:7 NASB)… Thank You Lord!

© 2012

Cheryl A. Showers

A Love That Won’t Let Me Go – Part 4

“I had it all,” Gomer thought to herself as she drank some water and stared through the fire into her memories. She didn’t know when Phineas would return, but she prayed it wouldn’t be today. “Look at me,” she thought. “I married the most loving wonderful man there ever was, and I wasn’t satisfied with that. No, I left that life behind and traded it for this prison – what a fool I was!”

Staring into the fire, she thought back to that morning shortly after Jezreel’s birth. “There’s laundry, laundry and more laundry. Dirty diapers, breakfast to fix, then lunch and then dinner! Oh yes, and let’s not forget, I must clean the house too! And I never get a full night’s rest. No – I must get up every few hours to nurse the baby – and that may satisfy him and shut him up for awhile, or it may not. He might just decide to scream the night away. There’s got to be more out of life than this!” she shouted angrily at Hosea.

“I know you’re tired Gomer,” Hosea spoke gently to her, massaging her tense shoulders, but she angrily shrugged his hands off. “Why don’t you go lay down and rest while I take Jezreel for a walk?”

“A little ‘rest’ won’t make things right! I didn’t bank on all of this when we got married. Hosea, I’m still young – I want to have some fun, but at this rate, I’ll die of old age early. How about if I go take a walk while you stay behind, cooking and cleaning and taking care of him?” Gomer stormed, reaching for her cloak and stomping out, slamming the door behind her.

“I want to have some fun. I’m so sick of living with a prophet, always having to say the right things and do the right thing. Heaven forbid if I’m not pious enough and I laugh at an off-color joke or something. No, I must stay sober and always put everyone else first – well what about me?” Gomer continued fuming to herself as she marched through the town, kicking at the stones along the pathway and cursing loudly.

“Who cares if anyone sees me? I’ve heard how the other women talk about me – as though I’m not good enough to associate with! They’re probably just jealous anyway. I’ve seen how their husbands look at me – I could have anyone of them with just the snap of my fingers,” she said snapping her fingers, as she rounded the bend, coming to an abrupt halt as she ran headlong into Nabal, who caught her in his arms, thus preventing her from falling flat of her face.

Laughing loudly, he steadied her, looking down at her lustfully. “Be careful Gomer, there’s no telling what could happen to you if you keep storming about not watching where you’re going.”

Smiling flirtatiously, Gomer looked up at Nabal and noticed, not for the first time, how handsome he was. It boggled her mind to think of how such a handsome man would settle for that cow he was married to. Coquettishly, Gomer caressed his muscular arm, replying, “Well, isn’t it lucky that I ran into such a big strong man like you, Nabal?”

Nabal turned a deep shade of red as he pulled her closer to him, “Does that prophet realize how lucky he is to have you?”

“Well, I don’t know – does that wife of yours realize how lucky she is?”

Hitting her fist to the dirt floor, Gomer cried out in shame. “What a fool I was! My Lord, in my selfishness I ruined so many lives. I was so angry and stupid – so blind! I had everything and I threw it all away for a little fun.”

She remembered how she enjoyed the attention and the gifts that first Nabal, then others lavished on her. Wincing, she remembered walking home later that day to a clean house and the sound of Hosea singing to Jezreel:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29MdtDlpNrQ  (open link in new tab and continue reading)

He smiled as she walked inside, never once suspecting what she had done that day, welcoming her back, loving her with arms wide open. “See Jezreel?” he said softly. “I told you Mama would return soon. I love you, Gomer. I love you with a love that will never let you go,” he said gently kissing her. “I’ve been thinking since you left earlier, and you’re right. You do need more help around here and I will help you.”

Tears welled up in her eyes as remorse swept over her. “What have I done?” she thought to herself. The guilt was overwhelmingly heavy, and she found it impossible to look into Hosea’s eyes as she took Jezreel in her arms and sat down to nurse him. “I can’t believe this! I go out and cheat on him and come home to find him doing my job. What kind of fool is he anyway?” she thought with contempt…

Sighing, Gomer ate some jerky, then slowly, unsteadily, she stood, shaking from the effort, but already the food had strengthened her. She brushed the tears from her eyes with her gnarled fingers, while talking to herself. “I thought he was the fool, but I see now that I was the only fool. I went from one man to another, openly mocking Hosea and not caring, and still, he kept right on loving me.”

A few short months later, she discovered she was pregnant. Gomer was panicked – what if it wasn’t Hosea’s baby? What if he found out? But if he suspected anything, Hosea never said so during her pregnancy. He kept right on loving her, but when her daughter was born, he named her Lo-Ruhamah, which means not loved, saying, “… for I (the Lord) will no longer show love to the people of Israel or forgive them. But I, the LORD their God, will show love to the people of Judah. I will personally free them from their enemies without any help from weapons or armies” (Hosea 1:6b-7 NLT).

As he spoke, Gomer’s heart pounded wildly, worriedly wondering, “Did he suspect that Lo-Ruhamah might not be his daughter? Did he know that she had been cheating on him?” He didn’t act as though he suspected anything. He still kept loving her, helping her around the house and with both children, while Gomer would disappear some days leaving the children to Hosea.

Then, after Lo-Ruhamah was weaned, Gomer found herself pregnant yet again. And when her third child, a son, was born, there was no longer any question as to whether Hosea knew what was going on. The child was of another race, and Hosea, with tears in his eyes, said, “The LORD said, “Name him Lo-Ammi — ‘Not my people’ — for Israel is not My people, and I am not their God” (Hosea 1:9 NLT). 

“I’m sorry Hosea,” Gomer wept, seeing the tears and the pain in Hosea’s eyes. “Please forgive me.”

“I do forgive you Gomer,” he said as the tears flowed freely down his cheeks. “I told you before – I love you with a love that will never let you go.”

Collapsing in a heap on the floor, Gomer wept and cried out, “And I took that love and destroyed it!”

© 2012

Cheryl A. Showers

A Love That Won’t Let Me Go – Part 2

Gomer lifted her twisted fingers to her sunken cheeks, wiping the tears that freely flowed, then looking at her tear soaked fingers, she silently mused, “I thought my tears had all dried up.” The wind continued to howl, and the small fire was slowly dying, as the brisk sound of footsteps brought Gomer from her silent reverie, causing a chill of fear to run up her spine. “O Lord, he’s back,” Gomer desperately prayed. “Lord, I know I’ve given You no reason to forgive me or to hear me, but please, please have mercy on me! Don’t let him rape me and beat me again tonight – please! Save me Lord!”

At the sound of his raucous laughter, Gomer scurried away from the fire, into the darkest corner of the room, hoping he wouldn’t notice her, as she shrunk down in terror. “Gomer!” the drunken beast called as he entered the room, “Come here,” he said as he fell down beside the fire. Fearfully, Gomer crept to him, being careful not to speak and send him into a drunken rage.  She knelt at his feet and waited for him to speak to her. “She won’t bring much with all those bruises and that bony body,” he mumbled to himself. “Stand up and let me look at you, Woman!” he bellowed, and though she tried, her bony legs didn’t have the strength to hold her up, and she crumpled to the floor, cringing as she waited for the first blow to fall.

“Please Yaweh!” Gomer desperately prayed silently, “Have mercy on me, O God, because of Your unfailing love. Because of Your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my shameful deeds — they haunt me day and night. Against You, and You alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in Your sight. You will be proved right in what You say, and Your judgment against me is just. For I was born a sinner — yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. But You desire honesty from the heart, so You can teach me to be wise in my inmost being. Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; You have broken me — now let me rejoice. Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me. Do not banish me from Your presence, and don’t take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me again the joy of Your salvation, and make me willing to obey You. Then I will teach Your ways to sinners, and they will return to You. Help me Lord!” It became apparent that he wasn’t going to hit her after all, and slowly, shrinkingly, Gomer lifted her tear stained face up to look at the man – her tormentor, as he gruffly handed her a piece of bread.

“Eat this,” he said gruffly. “You need to build up your strength.”

Fearfully, gratefully, Gomer took the bread, and though she was starved, she lifted it up towards heaven and thanked Yaweh, truly thankful for the first time she silently spoke these words to Him, Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all my iniquities, Who heals all my diseases, Who redeems my life from destruction, Who crowns me with lovingkindness and tender mercies,  Who satisfies my mouth with good things, So that my youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Then quickly, she gobbled the bread down before he changed his mind and took it from her, and when he offered her some water, she gratefully gulped that down too.

It had been many days since Gomer had eaten, and though she still loathed him and was fearful of him, she was also grateful for the food he gave her. “Got to build up her strength for a few days,” he mumbled to himself, as he drifted off to sleep in a drunken stupor. Gomer wasn’t sure what he had in store for her, but she knew that whatever it was, it wouldn’t be good. Still, for the first time in who knows how long, she had some food in her belly. He would probably sleep for hours, so Gomer quietly slinked back to the dark corner where she had hidden before.

“Could it be that Hosea was right?” she whispered to herself. “Could it be that Elohim cares for me – even now, after all I’ve done?” Her heart traveled back to another time, shortly after she and Hosea were married, as they walked back to their home following a visit to Jerusalem. “Did you hear what they said about me?” she wept, as Hosea held her close.

“I heard,” Hosea replied softly. “Listen Gomer, it’s easier for people to condemn someone else than it is for them to look at themselves -”

“But they hate me!” she sobbed.

“Yes, they hate you, and they hate me because I speak the Word of the Lord. You mustn’t worry about what man thinks of you. Instead, see what our heavenly Father thinks about you. That’s far more important, and Gomer, He loves you with a love that won’t let you go. No matter where life takes us, no matter what we do, He will always love His children. He may have to chastise you and punish you for bad behavior, but He still loves you with an everlasting love, and so do I.” He stopped and lifted her chin, gently kissing her. “All Adonai wants, and all that I want in return is to have your love.”

“Gomer, I knew about your past when I asked you to marry me, and I loved you then. Now, you’re my wife, and you’re carrying my child in your womb, and I still love you with all of my heart. You are more beautiful to me now than ever, and I want to shower you with all of my love, so that you will never want for anything! Let people talk if they want, as long as we love the Lord, and as long as we have each other, let them think and say what they will,” Hosea said laughing and kissing her again, as they continued toward their home.

“O Lord, is it true?” Gomer whispered in the dark dreary little room. “Do You really love me with a love that won’t let me go? An everlasting love? How can this be? And is it really true that all You want from me is my love? Yaweh, I know I’ve been unfaithful to You, but I see now that You are all I have. And I don’t have anything else to offer You but my love. Lord, will You accept the love of a harlot?” Gomer whispered as she drifted off to sleep…

© 2012

Cheryl A. Showers

A Love That Won’t Let Me Go – Part 1

The cold wind howled, blowing rain into the dark musty room where she lay, naked, cold, alone and penniless. He would be back soon, and the thought of his return brought a sick feeling to the pit of her stomach. She loathed him, yet she needed him. She nervously tried to run her gnarled fingers through her matted hair, but it was no use. Bruises and lesions covered her body and she was filthy and emaciated. Her once flashing dark eyes were now dull and lifeless. She, who once boldly and passionately sought to live a life of luxury and good times, was now reduced to a cowering, fearful wretch.

“O God,” she wimpered, as she shivered, searching for something to cover herself with. “Forgive me. I’ve made such a mess of things and I’ve hurt so many people. How could I have been so foolish? I once had a husband who loved me and children, and now I have nothing.

“I’m hedged in by thorns on every side of me. I chased after other lovers without a thought of anyone but myself. I prostituted myself for money and wine, but now I don’t even have that, because no one wants a used up whore, no one cares if I live or if I die.

“O Lord, I remember my first love. I remember the day he came to my father’s house to ask for my hand in marriage. He was so young and handsome…”

Gomer grimaced with pain as she crawled to the fire, which wouldn’t last much longer, and threw the last of the sticks in it. She was too weak to stand, and the effort of crawling and sitting up had drained all of her strength. Then, sitting as close to it as possible, she pulled a thin rag over her back and remembered better times, when she was young and beautiful and happy…

The sun shone brightly as Gomer quickly ran up the path to her house, quickly stopping at the door to run her fingers through her curly black hair, nervously trying to smooth it, while silently hoping her father wouldn’t notice that she was late for dinner once again. “O God, don’t let him be home yet,” she silently prayed, smoothing her rumpled clothing, hoping he wouldn’t see anything amiss. Finally, gathering her courage, Gomer took a deep breath and opened the door.

Her heart dropped as she saw her father’s back, and she briskly walked toward the fire to stir up the coals and prepare for dinner.  “Hello Father – I’m sorry I’m late, the market was just so busy! Don’t worry though, I’ll have our dinner ready in a flash,” Gomer said anxiously, hoping her father was in a good mood, as she mustered up the courage to turn and look at him.

That was when she saw him – Hosea – the young prophet! What was he doing there? Oh, he was handsome, and his amber eyes seemed to look right into her soul, as though he was reading her thoughts. Nervously, she looked away from his intense gaze to that of her father’s.

“Gomer,” Diblaim cleared his throat. “Please prepare enough for Hosea to join us for dinner. He has come to talk to me about you.”

“About me?” Gomer replied faintly. “Why would a prophet want to speak about me?” she thought. “O Lord,” she prayed, “I hope he doesn’t see my every thought and tell my father! Surely he has more important things to prophesy about than me!” Gomer quickly turned from Hosea’s piercing scrutiny and cautiously scurried about preparing a meal for Hosea, Diblaim and herself, worriedly wondering all the while what Hosea had to say about her. Whatever it was, she was sure it couldn’t be good.

“Hosea,” Diblaim said as he cleared his throat. “Will you do us the honor of asking the Lord’s blessing on this meal?”

“Yes sir, I would be honored to do so,” Hosea replied. Then, stepping up to the table in front of an empty bowl, Hosea lifted a container of water and poured it over his right hand three times, then over his left hand three times, before drying his hands and passing the bowl and the container of water to Diblaim, who followed the same ritual, and then Gomer finsihed. Next, Hosea prayed, “Blessed are You, HaShem, our God, King of the Universe, who sanctifies us through His commandments and commanded us concerning the elevation of the hands.”

Then, Diblaim and Gomer sat as Hosea lifted the bread, breaking it in half and passing one half to Diblaim, who broke some off before passing the rest to Gomer, who also broke some off. After everyone had a piece of bread, Hosea prayed, “Blessed are You, HaShem, our God, King of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.” Then each of them solemnly placed their portion of bread in their mouths and ate it.

Next, Hosea lifted the carafe of wine in his hands, pouring some first into his cup, then into Diblaim’s cup, and finally into Gomer’s cup. When he finished pouring the wine, everyone silently lifted their cups toward heaven, as Hosea prayed, “Blessed are You, HaShem, our God, King of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.” Then everyone drank from their cups, and Hosea sat, as the meal commenced.

Everyone ate in silence, as Gomer and Hosea sneaked glances at one another. Hosea seemed as nervous as Gomer, blushing and looking away from her whenever she caught his gaze, and it quickly dawned on Gomer that Hosea liked her. Armed with this knowledge, she smiled flirtatiously at him for the first time. It was evident that he was attracted to her, and Gomer knew how to deal with men and boys who were drawn to her beauty. Now, it was Hosea’s turn at nervousness, and his face turned a deep shade of red as he quickly looked away from her.

Finally the awkward meal ended, and Hosea gave the after meal blessing. “Give thanks to ADONAI, for He is good, for His grace continues forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for His grace continues forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for His grace continues forever; to Him who alone has done great wonders, for His grace continues forever; to Him who skillfully made the heavens, for His grace continues forever; to Him who spread out the earth on the water, for His grace continues forever; to Him who made the great lights, for His grace continues forever; the sun to rule the day, for His grace continues forever; the moon and stars to rule the night, for His grace continues forever; to Him who struck down Egypt’s firstborn, for His grace continues forever; and brought Isra’el out from among them, for His grace continues forever; with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, for His grace continues forever; to Him who split apart the Sea of Suf, for His grace continues forever; and made Isra’el cross right through it, for His grace continues forever; but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Sea of Suf, for His grace continues forever; to Him who led His people through the desert, for His grace continues forever; to Him who struck down great kings, for His grace continues forever; yes, He slaughtered powerful kings, for His grace continues forever; Sichon king of the Emori, for His grace continues forever; and ‘Og king of Bashan, for His grace continues forever; then He gave their land as a heritage, for His grace continues forever; to be possessed by Isra’el His servant, for His grace continues forever; who remembers us whenever we are brought low, for His grace continues forever; and rescues us from our enemies, for His grace continues forever; who provides food for every living creature, for His grace continues forever. Give thanks to the God of heaven, for His grace continues forever.”

After Hosea blessed the meal, Diblaim invited him to step outside to speak, while Gomer cleaned up, wondering all the while, what they were saying about her. Finally, the house was clean, and Gomer was sitting at the table, nervously twisting her hair, and wondering what was going on. After what seemed like an eternity, the door opened, and Diblaim stepped inside beaming, as Hosea stood outside the door.

“Father,” Gomer began as Diblaim closed the door, “whatever he said to you, I can explain.”

“Quiet child!” Diblaim said sternly. “Hosea is outside, and he wants to talk to you, but before you go to him, listen carefully to me! You have a decision to make, and if you make the wrong one, you will not be allowed to remain in my home. I know that you’ve been up to no good, and you have done nothing but bring shame on me since your mother died, and I am tired of it, do you hear?”

“But what  did he say, Father?” Gomer asked. “Truly, I can explain!” she pleaded.

“I promised that I would let him tell you why he’s here,” Diblaim stated, “But understand this. You are a shame and a reproach to me, so you better choose wisely, because this is no longer your home. Now get out there and listen to him,” Diblaim said, opening the door and pushing Gomer outside.

In fear and trembling, Gomer looked at Hosea, whose heart broke for her as he saw her pain. Softly, gently, he spoke her name, “Gomer, fear not. I mean you no harm. I’ve spoken to your father, and he’s given me his blessing to ask you to marry me. I know you don’t know me well, and though I’m certainly not a wealthy man, the Lord has provided generously for me, and I promise that I will love you and care for you for the rest of your life.” Walking up to her, Hosea gently lifted her chin and looked into her startled eyes. “Gomer, daughter of Diblaim, will you marry me, Hosea, son of Beeri?”

“You, a prophet of the Most High, want to marry me?” Gomer asked in disbelief. “Haven’t you heard what people say about me? Don’t you know?” she asked turning scarlet and averting her eyes from his passionate gaze, as he continued to cup her chin gently in his hand.

“I have heard, and I love you. Will you marry me, Gomer?” Hosea softly whispered. Gomer forced herself to look intently into Hosea’s eyes, and there it was, love, boldly shining in the depths of his amber eyes. “I promise to love you forever, Gomer, with a love that will never let you go, if you will agree to marry me. Will you have me as your husband?”

Tears began to flow down her cheeks, as Gomer looked back at Hosea and whispered softly, “I will have you…”

© 2012

Cheryl A. Showers