Sorry, busy week. I’ll get back to my own blog next Friday; just spoke with a young mother who was also abused as a child; she saw lions coming after her children; found out it was the Lord as a lion, lioness; showed her He’s got them safely in His mouth, nothing can take them away from His safety.
My therapist recently challenged me to view God as a lion, as C.S. Lewis did in one of his famous works. And when I think of Him as a lion; am I excited about that? Or afraid?
I admitted I am still more afraid of God than I’d like to be. Having all trust broken in my family of origin made trusting God difficult. I know what it is to live vulnerably and helplessly with predators as caregivers — to be hyper vigilant because the fangs could come out at any second. The sense of evil I felt in childhood was also strong. So the idea of drawing close to a lion doesn’t give me the best feeling. Yet, given that God describes HIMSELF as a lion (never mind what a fiction writer once came up with), it became something that I knew I…
Good Friday to you, my dear readers! Did you know that“Three out of four Americans don’t believe that God loves them.”? (quote from Kyle Winkler; firstname.lastname@example.org) In this time of remembering Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, the ultimate display of God’s love for us incarnate, let’s pause and think about the quote I just shared.
If a person doesn’t believe God loves them, how will they believe He wants them to be healed and whole? How will they understand why Jesus had to die for our sins while we were yet sinners? How can they joyfully follow where He leads? How can they freely give tithes and offerings? How can they truly love themselves or others? Let me share some Scriptures that impressed me this week.
Psalm 50:7 “Hear, O My people, and I will speak, O Israel, and I will testify against you; I am God, your God! 8 I will not [b]rebuke you for your sacrifices Or your burnt offerings, Which are continually before Me. 9 I will not take a bull from your house, Nor goats out of your folds. 10 For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills. 11 I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine.
I break in here to acknowledge: God created every living animal, person, plant and tree; the earth and all that is in it. He doesn’t NEED anything from us, but because He is the epitome of LOVE, He wants our company; wants to love us and have a relationship with each and every one of us.
12 “If I were hungry, I would not tell you; For the world is Mine, and all its fullness. 13 Will I eat the flesh of bulls, Or drink the blood of goats? 14 Offer to God thanksgiving, And pay your vows to the Most High. 15 Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”
Whoever offers praise glorifies Me; And to him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of God.”
Guess what? From the moment Adam and Eve severed their relationship with God the Father, He has used blood to repair that relationship. We think of blood in terms of death, but how does God see it?
Leviticus 17:11 For the life of the flesh isinthe blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it isthe bloodthat makes atonement for the soul.’
1: reparation for an offense or injury : SATISFACTION a story of sin and atonement He wanted to find a way to make atonement for his sins.
2: the reconciliationof God and humankind through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ
The first blood was shed to prepare animal skins to cover Adam & Eve’s nakedness; to give them life to cover their relational death. The next blood I want to point out is the blood of Abel, the first person murdered. His blood cried out from the ground to God; it was his life calling to Father God. On the first Passover, the blood of the lambs and goats was shed to bring life to the Israelite’s first born. Next I want to look at the blood of Jesus.
John 6:53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink Hisblood, you have no lifein you.
In Hebrews 9, Apostle Paul speaks about how the blood was used for remission of sins; atonement for the soul. Jesus Christ was the ultimate sacrifice, used of God to wipe out all sins, even what the blood of animals could not cover. (see Leviticus). This takes us back to John 3
John 3: 14 …as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even somust the Son of Man be lifted up,15 that whoever believes in Him should[c]not perish buthave eternal life.16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begottenSon, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
So, God out of love for all of us, came down in the form of a human baby; fully God/fully man. This perfect sacrifice was God-Father/Son/Spirit’s- idea from the beginning. The eternal love relationship among the parts of the Godhead created humans to join in that love relationship. Through doubt, disbelief and disobedience, we all mess up and can’t believe God could love us as we are. We try to buy the grace Jesus gave freely as part of the Zoe life He talks about in John 10:
John 10:10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have itmore abundantly.
Did you know there are churches that refuse to have blood mentioned in their midst, especially sung in their hymns? Did you know most of the hymns that speak about the blood were written during the Azusa Street Revival in the early 1900’s? During that move of God, the people gained a revelation of the blood of Jesus, grace, and the heavy presence of the Lord. Even back then there were many who did not want to hear about the blood of Jesus, grace, or the tangible presence of God. Let’s press in ever closer to the relationship that’s available with the Creator of the Universe, one of the precious things we gained through the blood of Jesus Christ. He IS a good, good Father, and YOU are loved by HIM! Experience it yourself, then share it with others who need to know the hope you’ve found in Him, the freedom in His love.
(from a song a friend wrote) ‘Friday’s here, but Sunday’s coming. Friday’s here, but the story doesn’t end! He who was crucified has now arisen and His glory days will be forever without end!’ Spread the good news far and wide and let’s join together to change the statistic quoted at the beginning of this post.
Here’s a very important topic covered by my fellow blogger Victor put in an excellent way. So much is being toted as “tollerance” in our society; do we REALLY know what it means??? Check out Victor’s postviaAnother Look At The Meaning Of Tolerance
Many verses have been added to Eternal Father Strong To Save, so I share them here. I didn’t realize there are so many! Please pray with me that those who serve would truly know the Lord that keeps them as they serve. Amen!
For the Naval Aviators:
Lord, guard and guide the men who fly Through the great spaces in the sky. Be with them always in the air, In darkening storms or sunlight fair; Oh, hear us when we lift our prayer, For those in peril in the air!
Mary C. D. Hamilton (1915)
Oh, Watchful Father who dost keep Eternal vigil while we sleep Guide those who navigate on high Who through grave unknown perils fly, Receive our oft-repeated prayer For those in peril in the air.
Emma Mayhew Whiting (1943)
Eternal Father, grant, we pray, To all Marines, both night and day, The courage, honor, strength, and skill Their land to serve, thy law fulfill; Be thou the shield forevermore From every peril to the Corps.
J. E. Seim (1966)
Lord, stand beside the men who build, And give them courage, strength, and skill. O grant them peace of heart and mind, And comfort loved ones left behind. Lord, hear our prayers for all Seabees, Where’er they be on land or sea.
R. J. Dietrich (1960)
Lord God, our power evermore, Whose arm doth reach the ocean floor, Dive with our men beneath the sea; Traverse the depths protectively. O hear us when we pray, and keep Them safe from peril in the deep.
David B. Miller (1965)
For female sailors
O God, protect the women who, In service, faith in thee renew; O guide devoted hands of skill And bless their work within thy will; Inspire their lives that they may be Examples fair on land and sea.
Lines 1-4, Merle E. Strickland (1972) and
adapted by James D. Shannon (1973)
Lines 5-6, Beatrice M. Truitt (1948)
Creator, Father, who dost show Thy splendor in the ice and snow, Bless those who toil in summer light And through the cold antarctic night, As they thy frozen wonders learn; Bless those who wait for their return.
L. E. Vogel (1965)
Eternal Father, Lord of hosts, Watch o’er the men who guard our coasts. Protect them from the raging seas And give them light and life and peace. Grant them from thy great throne above The shield and shelter of thy love.
Eternal Father, King of birth, Who didst create the heaven and earth, And bid the planets and the sun Their own appointed orbits run; O hear us when we seek thy grace For those who soar through outer space.
J. E. Volonte (1961)
Wounded and Caregivers
Creator, Father, who first breathed In us the life that we received, By power of thy breath restore The ill, and men with wounds of war. Bless those who give their healing care, That life and laughter all may share
. Galen H. Meyer (1969)
Adapted by James D. Shannon (1970)
For Loved Ones left behind
God, Who dost still the restless foam, Protect the ones we love at home. Provide that they should always be By thine own grace both safe and free. O Father, hear us when we pray For those we love so far away.
Hugh Taylor (date Unk)
Guardians of ocean & land
Lord, guard and guide the men who fly And those who on the ocean ply; Be with our troops upon the land, And all who for their country stand: Be with these guardians day and night And may their trust be in thy might.
Author Unknown (1955)
O Father, King of earth and sea, We dedicate this ship to thee. In faith we send her on her way; In faith to thee we humbly pray: O hear from heaven our sailor’s cry And watch and guard her from on high!
Ship’s farewell & Eternal Life
And when at length her course is run, Her work for home and country done, Of all the souls that in her sailed Let not one life in thee have failed; But hear from heaven our sailor’s cry, And grant eternal life on high!
Today I share with you the hymn my mother chose as my father’s favorite hymn for his funeral. He was 46 when he died of sudden heart attack in January 1975, making my mom a widow with 5 children at the age of 44. Dad was in the US Navy for two years between the major wars, went to a Lutheran church growing up, we attended a Presbyterian church without him when he died. Here are the original verses, with more I’ll share in my next post. We’ve never been sure of where Dad stood in relation to his Eternal Father when he died, but this gives me hope.
Eternal Father Strong To Save
Verse 1:Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!
Verse 2:O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walked’st on the foaming deep,
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!
Verse 3: Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!
Verse 4: O Trinity of love and power!
Our brethren shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe’er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.
The “Navy Hymn” is Eternal Father, Strong to Save. The original words were written as a poem in 1860 by William Whiting of Winchester, England, for a student who was about to sail for the United States. The melody, published in 1861, was composed by fellow Englishman, Rev. John Bacchus Dykes, an Episcopalian clergyman.
The hymn, found in most hymnals, is known as the “Navy hymn” because it is sung at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. It is also sung on ships of the Royal Navy (U.K.) and has been translated into French.
Eternal Father was the favorite hymn of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and was sung at his funeral in Hyde Park, New York, in April 1945. It was also played by the Navy Band in 1963 as President John F. Kennedy’s body was carried up the steps of the U.S. Capitol to lie in state. Roosevelt had served as Secretary of the Navy and Kennedy was a PT boat commander in World War II.
(Information from The Presbyterian Hymnal Companion
by LindaJo H. McKim, Westminster/John Knox Press, Louisville, Ky. 1993)
Good day readers! This month ( March 20-21 2019) the Israelites celebrate Purim (see Esther 3:7 below for the feast’s meaning), celebrating Queen Esther’s obedience and courage leading the Jews in triumph over wicked Haman. My Bible readings are in Esther this week and want to share with you some of the pertinent parts I saw in this book.
Esther 3:7 In the first month, which is the month of Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, they cast Pur (that is, the lot), before Haman [a]to determine the day and the [b]month, [c]until it fell on the twelfth month,which is the month of Adar.
The book of Esther is staged in Shushan Province, contemporary to the book of Nehemiah’s account of the refugees in Jerusalem rebuilding the walls. This story begins with King Ahasuerus (Xerxes) having a drunken feast with all his princes & servants as well as nobles and princes of all 127 provinces he ruled over from Shushan palace. This feast lasted 7 days after having spent 180 days showing them all the glories of his kingdom. In the midst of this drunken orgie, he called for his queen to come before them with her royal crown on. One commentator believes the drunken king was ordering his queen to appear nude with only her crown on so they could ALL see her beauty! Well, this makes many of us very sad about the way the king treated her.
Last week I made note from Nehemiah that King Artaxerxes is the son of Xerxes (Ahasuerus) and believed by many to be the son of Esther. (Nehemiah 2:1) Esther was daughter of Mordecai’s uncle, which made him her cousin. After her parents died, he adopted the fair young maiden and treated her as his own daughter. In Esther chapter two we see God’s favor on her. Hegai was pleased with her and she obtained kindness from him.
Esther 2:9Now the young woman pleased him, and she obtained his favor; so he readily gave beauty preparations to her, besides [j]her allowance. Then seven choice maidservants were provided for her from the king’s palace, and he moved her and her maidservants to the best place in the house of the women.
Ittook twelve months to prepare a maiden to go in to the king. To purify the women it took six months of oil of myrrh and six months with “perfumes and preparations for beautifying women”. Esther took the suggestions of Hegai, showing great humility. The women were allowed to take anything they wanted from the women’s quarters when it was their turn to go in to the King. Esther chose to take.
Esther 2:15 Now when the turn came for Esther the daughter of Abihail the uncle of Mordecai, who had taken her as his daughter, to go in to the king, she requested nothing but what Hegai the king’s eunuch, the custodian of the women, advised. And Esther obtained favor in the sight of all who saw her.
It has been noted that God is not mentioned at all in this book, but His favor and plans are evident throughout. Interesting to me: Mordecai & Esther (also known as Hadassa) were of the tribe and lineage of Benjamin. Haman was a descendant of Agag whom God had ordered King Saul to utterly destroy:
1 Samuel 15:2 Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt. 3 Now go and attack[a] Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’ ”
BUT…King Saul disobeyed the LORD!
1Samuel 158 He also took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. 9 But Saul and the people spared Agagand the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.
This is when God rejected Saul as king. SO…Saul’s disobedience came back to bite his people in later generations. In contrast, Esther’s obedience saved her people!
Notice how evil did not prevail; Mordecai was exalted by Haman’s own prideful words (Esther chapter 6) and Haman was hung on the 70 foot high gallows he’d erected for Mordecai (Esther 7:10). The edict to slaughter the Jews sent out to all the provinces by Haman in King Artaxerxes’ name could not be cancelled or withdrawn, but the king was able to send out another edict allowing the Jews to take up arms and defend themselves.
This book shows how the LORD never changes, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. This should give us hope that obedience is better than sacrifice and disobedience will not go unpunished.
The following is a short, step-by-step process on how to share your testimony. I created this document for people in our church who are getting baptized. It is based off of original material I found on the websites of Living Waters and Cru.
In Acts 26:1-23, the apostle Paul shares his testimony and gives a general outline of what it might sound like. His format basically was a 3-step process:
What his life was like before Jesus (v. 1-11)
How he became a follower of Jesus (v. 12-18)
How his life has changed because of Jesus (v. 19-23)
Using this basic outline, you can build your own testimony by considering some of the following questions.
1. Describe your life before you met Jesus
What was your religious upbringing? How did you view God, Christ, the Church, and Christians? What beliefs and values did you hold to? What sins and…