B E T R A Y E R OF JESUS: Could it be me?

B E T R A Y A L

 Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present. (Luke 22: 3-6)

ME: When did I allow Satan to enter my heart for profit or for human approval –and betray my Lord . . .

 

B E T R A Y A L

18 “I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared My bread has turned against Me.’ 19 “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am. 20 Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts Me; and whoever accepts Me accepts the One who sent Me.” 21 After He had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray Me.” (John 13:18-21)

ME: How have I caused my Lord to be “troubled in spirit” during the times when I was the one who betrayed Him by not following His commands, by not living my life fully for Him . . .

 

B E T R A Y A L

Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know Me.” (Luke 22:34)

ME: Have I ever denied Jesus? Did I allow an opportunity to pass by when I could have stood up for Him, but didn’t-and, thus, betrayed Him . . .

 

B E T R A Y A L

45He said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes My betrayer!” 47 While He was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. (Matthew 26:45-49)

ME: Has my love for the Lord ever been untrue? Have I betrayed His love for me?

 

B E T R A Y A L

Will Jesus ever say to me:

“Here comes My betrayer!”

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Let us be true to our Lord, persevering in faith, focused on Jesus with  LOYALTY — FAITHFULNESS–  DEVOTION.

       Sharon G. Tate blog  March 4, 2024                                       (teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word)

Our Example in Christ: Giving Sacrificially

 

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesuswho, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8)

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When my son was in middle school, he was big enough to be a helper shoveling snow. Of course, being a kid, playing in the snow was what he would rather do. Yet, there were several days that he chose to go shovel–by himself. . .

My son and I started shoveling together at a friend’s home when the fatigue she experienced from cancer became overwhelming. It was a good opportunity to teach empathy, compassion and giving with no expectation of getting something in return, except the knowledge that we were doing this out of caring for someone else.

My friend was soon placed in a care facility as her cancer rapidly progressed. No one was at the house. A big snow came, and my son asked to go outside and shovel. However, I soon discovered it wasn’t our drive he was shoveling. He had gone to her house and was doing the whole drive by himself. He said it didn’t matter if she was there or not. My son wanted to keep it open for her—for when she came home. He continued to do this for several more snows.

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“Heroes”

We read and hear about the heroes who give their lives—veterans of war and conflict, first responders in a tragic occurrence, teachers and citizens who stand up and protect others while sacrificing self. We may wonder if we could have been them at that time, in that circumstance, in that place.

We may not read and hear about the silent heroes who give sacrificially daily as caregivers, as mothers of young children, as fathers working two jobs, as behind-the-scenes volunteers who cuddle and calm the opioid-addicted babies, as hospice volunteers who sit by the bedsides of the dying with no family, holding their hands to the last breath.

But we can read about the One who gave the ultimate sacrifice for us all. Jesus bore our sins, though sinless; He suffered humiliation and torture, though innocent; He forgave those who crucified Him, though they were guilty; He died that we might live eternally, though we never deserved such mercy and grace.

Our society desperately needs those who would strive to be Christ-like and have more empathy, more compassion, more giving of self. We each need to be that “hero” who would give so completely and empty self for others.

Then Jesus told His disciples, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24)

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The little boy shoveling the snow all alone for someone who never saw it, doing it out of selfless caring and love– just a kid who would rather play in the snow but chose to give the gift of himself in a labor of love– was that “hero” in that time, in that circumstance, in that place.

I had to tell him she wasn’t coming home, and he could put down the shovel, that she knew he was doing it for her and she was grateful for his sacrifice. The instrument: A shovel. The life lesson: Denial of self for another.

And the Teacher continues to instruct us always  in the lessons of selfless giving, maybe through the heart of a child.

Sharon G. Tate blog   Meditations on God’s Word  (teacherforjesus.com)

 

Prayer Voices to God

 

Voices… praise, penitent, present, patient.
Voices…cries, complaints, compromise, consent.
Voices…soft, sincere, solemn, submissive.
Voices…articulate, academic, artificial, announcer.
Voices…inaudible, innermost, introspective, intentional.
 Voices…rote, rigid, repetitious, recitation.
Voices…joyful, jubilant, joyous, joy.
Voices: thanksgiving, transparency, trust, truth.
Voices…unspoken, underneath, unconscious, unresolved.
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What prayer voices do we offer to God? Our tone, attitude, purpose, approach, language in prayer all indicate something about our relationship with God. We know that He can listen even when we don’t physically utter words, because He is omniscient and all-knowing. I AM—in present tense—is always present when we use our public voices, our inner voices, and even our unconscious voices for prayer. Yet, as David’s prayers indicate, God will not listen and hear if sin is “cherished” in our hearts.
Psalm 66:17-20                                                                                                                                                   17 I cried out to Him with my mouth; His praise was on my tongue.
18 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;
19 but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer.
20 Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me!
Psalm 116:                                                                                                                                                                I love the Lord, for He heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy.
Because He turned His ear to me, I will call on Him as long as I live.
What voice should we present before God–that He will listen to and hear the prayers we bring to Him? What heart must we have that He will listen to what has been uttered and hear what is really being said?
Like any father, God desires communication with His children. We owe Him a respectful voice; we owe Him our utmost presence; we owe Him our praise, our submission, our gratitude; we owe Him joy for all He has done for us. We owe Him a voice and a heart that demonstrates our love for Him, our Father. Hallowed is His Name and hallowed is our time with Him. Our prayer voices must be appropriate for this special time spent with our God.
Sharon G. Tate blog 02/17/2024  Meditations on God’s Word (teacherforjesus.com)

    God’s Valentine to Faithful Christians

 

 

 

 

V ictory through Jesus

A bsolution from our sins

L ove that never fails

E mpty tomb of Risen hope

N ew body incorruptible

T omorrow-eternal promised

I  nheritance of adoption

N ever-ending Light

E ternity with God our Father

1 John 3:1 – See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.

Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1 John 4:10 – This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

 John 4:9 – This is how God showed His love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him.

1 John 4:8 – Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is LOVE.

(1 Corinthians 13:13)

                                                                                                                                      Sharon G. Tate blog    02/09/24                                                                           Meditations on God’s Word                                                    (teacherforjesus.com)

“GO AND DO LIKEWISE.”

 

WHO ARE MY MOTHER AND BROTHERS?

46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, His mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to Him. 47 Someone told Him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”                                                                                                          48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to His disciples, He said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:46-50)

WHO IS MY SON?

25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” 27 Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home. (John 19:25-27)

WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR?

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”                                                                                                    26 “What is written in the Law?” He replied. “How do you read it?”                                              27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”                              29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10: 25-29)

Jesus answered the question with a parable of a man who was beaten, robbed, and left to die. Three people reacted to the man’s plight—two passing by on the other side of the road, one stopping and going the extra mile to provide assistance and healing.

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”                                                                                                                                                       37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”                                         Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:36-37)

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My mother is the 85-year-old woman in the nursing home who looks out the window waiting for someone to come;  my brother is the unemployed father of three who stands in line with 500 others hoping for a job; my son is the recently discharged soldier grappling with PTSD and depression; my neighbor is the child fleeing from a country where he is underfed and abused.
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Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, family, neighbors. We tend to have a very limited view of family and neighbors. God’s perspective is much larger, broader, and inclusive. The bloodline of family with God is really from Christ, not from our great-great-greats…. down the lineage of personal ancestry. My neighbors are, also, my family, each one created by God.

In every person, I can find a common heritage, a common Savior, a common love. I should not see with eyes that only view similarity. I must, also, look into the differences and find commonality in them. The commonality is from that portion of God’s divine nature imbued in each soul. It is my directive as well to show acceptance, mercy, and love to others who are my “neighbors.” I, too, must “Go and do likewise.”

And what if everyone followed this directive  in obedience to Christ?

(Sharon G. Tate 01/26/24 blog)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

 

 

 

 

“Follow Me”: The Meaning of Love as His Disciple

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24)

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“Gotta go. Love ya.”

 “Love ya back.” Turning.

 “Love ya more.” Waving.

Has the use of the word “love” become more and more casual in our communications?  What have we lost in the translation by possible overuse of this word that may result in the absence of true commitment in relationships?

The Cost of Love in Discipleship

12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord.13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to His disciples after He was raised from the dead.

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love Me more than these?

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love You.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.

16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love Me?

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love You.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.

17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love Me?

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love You.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then He said to him, “Follow me!” (John 21: 12-19)

 

Master and disciple

Communicating

Three responses,

In so revealing

Love, Love, Love

Profound Depth

Beneath the words–

Follow The Master

With commitment

In shared sacrifice.

When we say to the Lord, “You know that I love You,”

We must remember His words of commitment,

Follow me” And what they mean in love to Him.

For the Lord, who asked Peter three times if he loved Him, the meaning meant a deep commitment of sacrifice—even onto death.

 

 –Sharon (teacherforjesus.com)

“God with us”: Our Hope from a Child

 

 

 

 

 

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son,                                  and they will call him Immanuel”                                                           (which means ‘God with us’).   Matthew 1:23

“Today in the town of David a Savior                                                             has been born to you;   He is the Messiah,                                                 the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)

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The baby’s eyes reflect the Light,

Conceived to serve mankind,

Little hands and feet will grow

To endure the pain of nails.

A savior born to redeem must die.

Can it be that one so small

Bears such a weight as this.

The child, the man, the Son–as One,

Carrying the burden of promise-

At the Manger, the Garden, the Cross;

Compassion, redemption, salvation.

A cry at birth, a cry at death.

Can it be that one so small

Bears such a weight as this.

The Reason to Rejoice this Season—and all Seasons

“Then the shepherds returned, glorifying God and praising God for

all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.”

(Luke 2:20)

As it has been told to us through the Word, let us rejoice in the birth

of Jesus and the fulfillment of the prophecy that led to our salvation.

 

–Sharon G. Tate   Meditations on God’s Word (teacherforjesus.com)

 

 

 

 

 

Meeting Jesus at the Crossroad

Choices. My choices. Your choices.

They are not separate and apart.

It is not about me; it is not about you.

My life affects you as yours impacts me.

Though our paths are different,

We meet at the crossroad

Where Jesus waits.

God gave us choice in this earthly life. We can be deliberate in trying to make the right decisions on our life journey as we meet others, or we can be selfish in choosing what we want as if we are on a solitary path, affecting only ourselves. Such a lone path does not exist. There is always a place where paths intersect, and even, at times, follow parallel lines, side by side, before truly joining at the crossroad where Jesus waits.

 

Let us carry Light with us on every path, every intersection, and every encounter. It is my choice. It is your choice. The choice we have is to meet Jesus and take Him with us on our path–or pass on by without Him. We are each at the crossroad daily, with every choice we make.

Sharon G. Tate (teacherforjesus.com)

Meditations on God’s Word

Keeping a Mind/Heart Focus on God

 

 

Truth, Honor, Justice, Purity, Loveliness, Graciousness, Excellence, Worthy of Praise

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9).

Paul’s directive to keep a mind/heart-focus toward Godly fruits of the Spirit is crucial: “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. . . (Proverbs 23:7).  What we think directs what we do and how we do it. Is it done with truth, honor, justice, purity, loveliness, graciousness, and excellence? Is it worthy of praise from God? Do we ask ourselves these questions before we act or speak?

“Think—before you act” was one poster on my classroom door. I, sometimes, had it taped on both sides of the glass window, so students saw this message while entering and exiting from my room. Do we need a poster to remind us—to STOP and THINK before we ACT?

What we put before our eyes will become what we see in our thoughts and, ultimately, what we do in our actions and utter in our speech.  The Israelites were told to constantly and consistently place the commandments before them and their children: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).

 I still have posters, plaques, and sayings to remind me to STOP and THINK. They are everywhere in my home. Some are included below:

**If you exit from the laundry room door to the garage, you will encounter one on that door:  “Help me to remember, Lord, that nothing’s going to happen today that you and I can’t handle together.”

**If you enter my condo from the garage, you will see the message: “God bless.”

**In my kitchen, you will see many messages, two being: “The Lord is my light and salvation.” (Psalm 27:1) and “Lord, guide me with your gentle hand.”

**In the dining room, there is the plaque “Prayer changes things” and the name “JESUS” in a wooden cast that some cannot clearly see until it is pointed out—and, from then on, it is before them.

**Moving to the living room, there is a picture of a deer herd near a stream of water with this scripture imprinted beneath:  “As the deer pants for water, so my soul pants for thee” (Psalm 42:1).

**In the hall, I have a crewel-embroidered and cross-stitched picture that I made of the 23rd Psalm.

**My favorite scripture is in my bedroom on the bedpost: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). It is before me—and beside me–every morning and every night.

What reminds you to have a heart/mind focus on God and these fruits of the Spirit, to think always upon these things: Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, whatever is excellent and whatever is worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8)

                What is before you—that reminds you constantly and consistently of God?

 

Sharon G. Tate  blog 03/05/23 (teacherforjesus.com) Meditations on God’s Word

The God-Ache Within Us

“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for.” (1)

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Have you ever wanted some “thing” so much that you pursued it with persistence and perseverance, expended a great deal of time and energy and, perhaps, money into seeking a way to have it– only to discover that when you finally obtained it, you lost that feeling of really needing or even wanting it? In a short time, the item might be stuffed away in a closet, unused and forgotten, eventually ending up in a garage sale. “I have it now, so what’s the next ‘thing’ that gives me the same feeling of want and desire because I don’t have it yet?”

What we desire and want say a lot about us. How we pursue those things also speaks volumes. These are physical, observable wants, but what is really special to us and what we truly “ache for” may be hidden in a solitary quest of the heart and soul, only seen by God, El Roi, Who sees all.

“What makes something special is not just what you have to gain but what you feel there is to lose.”(2)  Something that is very special goes beyond the “gain” of merely having it– to the “ache” of loss without it.

What do we truly “ache for?” Do we have an “ache” inside for Christ that is such a special desire and a want that we would do anything to never lose Him? Would we pursue a relationship with God at a greater degree of persistence and perseverance, giving our time in abundance, for such a yearning in our hearts and souls for Him?

The scriptures speak to this ache and yearning for the Lord, our God:

Isaiah 26:9 My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you. . .

Psalm 73:25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

Psalm 42:2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?

Psalm 63:1 You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.

Psalm 143:6  I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land.

John 6:27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on Him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

John 7:37-38 37 On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, He cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to Me, 38 and let the one who believes in Me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’”

What we earnestly seek, we will find, if it is in God. What we find, we will hold dear in the God-given soul that aches for Him and longs to be with Him eternally.

Thank you, Lord, for this God-ache within us that yearns for You. Only in You can we fulfill all our wants, our desires, and our needs. Only in You, can we find true satisfaction and peace.  Amen.

 

(1) Oriah Mountain Dream, poet

(2) Andre Agassi, tennis pro

(Sharon G. Tate blog : teacherforjesus.com) Meditations on God’s Word