NEW LIFE UNDER GOD’S LIGHT

 

 

22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24)

********************************************************

The old self is the familiar self. It is hard to leave the comfort of familiarity and start anew. Like the plant trying to break through the hardened ground to reach the light and grow, we struggle. The darkness underground in the shadows envelops us, seemingly hiding what we don’t want the Light to see associated with our old self.

We know His Light will change us. It will reveal what we cannot hide. We are unable to remain the same under the influence of Light. The plant knows this about light. Photosynthesis is innate to its existence and    sustenance. God imbued the plant with this “understanding.” It is changed by light, as we are when we yield to its life-giving effects.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the  resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.   (I Peter 1:3-5)

The old self, that we have come to know so well, cannot grow and change. It is an Old Life Dying every moment. The old must die to  release the reborn me and you in a New Engaging Walk with the Light.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Death, in our culture, is usually associated with feelings of fear, anxiety, dread, and avoidance. Yet, through the Light of Christ, death to our old self is the means through which we can each grow to prepare for our new life eternal. From death is the hope to rise anew, to break through the hard ground out of the darkness, to reach upward and bend, like the plant, toward the saving Light.

 When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)

Let us each follow His Light.

He is the path to salvation,

Our Guide home through the darkness.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 04/22/18)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

 

Jehovah-Shalom: The Lord is Peace

The Lord gives strength to His people;
the
Lord blesses His people with peace. (Psalm 29:11)

When reading the headlines in the newspaper or hearing the day’s events as presented by the nightly news anchor, we might question,

“WHERE IS THE PEACE, LORD?”

Jesus clearly answers us: 27 Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

The world outside may be a raging storm, our inner world may be a tempest–but He gives us peace from it all, if we are willing to let Him into our hearts. The Lord gives us this promise when winds blow,  lightning strikes, hail falls, floods rise, inner thoughts assail in our moments of uncertainty and fear: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)  Jesus is the “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” who gives us refuge from the storms of life (Isaiah 9:6).

10 Though the mountains be shaken
and the hills be removed,
yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor My covenant of peace be removed,”
says the
Lord, who has compassion on you.

(Isaiah 54:10)

The only way we are removed from this peace is by our own doing– when our faith is weak, when we fear a sinful society seems beyond redemption, when our internal thoughts become ridden with doubt. Through all of this, we limit God, and His peace cannot reach us. The giving end from God is always powerful and strong; the faulty transmission comes at the point of reception– you and me.

 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him,  so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

PEACE! PEACE! BE STILL. ¹

 ¹ “Master, the Tempest is Raging” lyrics by Mary Ann Baker 1874

(Sharon G. Tate blog 04/15/18) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

 

In Awe of our Awesome God!

 

Many, LORD my God, are the wonders You have done, the things You planned for us. None can compare with You; were I to speak and tell of Your deeds, they would be too many to declare. (Psalm 40:5)

*************************************************************

WONDER: “To be filled with admiration, amazement, or awe; marvel” 1

My three-year-old grandson was tugging on my son’s hand, trying to make him move more quickly around the pond walkway. Suddenly, he stopped, pointed, and loudly exclaimed, “Magic! Magic, Daddy!” We all stopped to look.

Sparkling lights were dancing atop the water from the sun’s reflection and the combined motion of the water with the wind.  Indeed, it did look magical. But the real wonder was not created by sleight of hand through any magic but by God, Who spoke the elements into existence, thus forming the possibility of this scenario of light, water, and wind to create a moment of beauty witnessed first by the innocence of a child. It was the child, imbued with innate wonder, who made the adults stop– and notice the dance.

Tugging the child’s hand, we moved ahead on the walkway, soon reaching the other side of the pond. But the little boy kept looking back at the water, whispering “Magic.” He was still amazed, awed. Did we, too, see with the eyes of the child, with the eyes of children of God—and marvel?

The wonders God has done just for us in this world demand our gratitude, our amazement, and our awe:

14 “Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God’s wonders. 

15 Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash? 

16 Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of Him who has perfect knowledge?  (Job 37:14-16)

 

19 He made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down. 

20 You bring darkness, it becomes night, and all the beasts of the forest prowl. 

21 The lions roar for their prey and seek their food from God. 

22 The sun rises, and they steal away; they return and lie down in their dens. 

23 Then people go out to their work, to their labor until evening. 

24 How many are your works, LORD! In wisdom You made them all; the earth is full of Your creatures. (Psalm 104:19-24)

 

31 May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in His works— 

32 He Who looks at the earth, and it trembles, Who touches the mountains, and they smoke. 

33 I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. 

34 May my meditation be pleasing to Him, as I rejoice in the LORD. (Psalm 104:31-34)

May our meditation be pleasing to Him, Who created wonders just for us to enjoy. Let us rejoice always in the Lord and be amazed by His sparkles of Light, reflected in all creation. May our eyes behold in awe, as our lips whisper, “GOD.”

1 www.dictionary.com

(Sharon G. Tate blog 04/08/18) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

The Good News: JESUS HAS RISEN!

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him, just as He told you.’”

Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said      nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.        (Mark 16:1-8)

            *******************************************************************

     The Stone: a physical barrier to entrance, a spiritual barrier to faith.

                                                      Who will roll away the stone?

The women could not enter the tomb until the great stone was removed from the entrance. It was an impediment to their purpose, they couldn’t move it themselves, and it blocked their view to what lay on the other side. They were worried about something God had   already removed for them. They just needed to “look up” to see that their path was open and clear. Still, the women did not recognize it was God who had rolled away this physical barrier which now allowed them entrance and opportunity to remove the spiritual barrier of their disbelief.

Upon entering the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in white “and they were alarmed.” The young man told them not to be alarmed, for he had good news to tell them: “He has risen!” This angel from God showed them proof that Jesus was not there: “See the place where they laid Him.” Their physical view was clear now, not blocked by the stone, and the women could not dispute what their eyes beheld. Jesus was not there. Only this young man was present, and he was telling them something that, though foretold, they had not quite believed as they had come to anoint the body of Jesus, the crucified Christ buried in the tomb, His final resting place. A stone still needed to be rolled away, a spiritual one.

The women were uncertain in their faith. There was still a barrier. The reaction to the young man’s announcement that Jesus had risen and was going ahead of them into Galilee where they would see Him again was shocking. The angel told them to go and tell the good news to the disciples and to Peter. The women left “trembling and bewildered” in flight from the tomb. And, being afraid, “they said nothing to anyone.” They were still uncertain and confused.  No one would believe this. Did they really believe it, even after seeing that Jesus wasn’t there with their own eyes?

Jesus later met Mary Magdalene, rolling away the stone of her questioning belief, and she left to tell the disciples–who did not believe her testimony. Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples and “upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw Him after He had risen” (Mark 16: 13).

****************************************************************

Who will roll away our stone?  Our uncertainty, confusion, disbelief, “hardness of heart,” and fear can all be rolled away by faith in the Lord, who goes before us. “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8). All impediments to faith are ones God can remove—if we just let Him. Though we have not seen with our own eyes, we can believe those whose testimonies of first-hand witness tell us.

The Good News: JESUS HAS RISEN!

(Sharon G. Tate blog 04/01/18) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

 

The Man on the Path to the Cross

Crowds gather to watch,

Some crying and wailing,

Others yelling “Crucify Him!”

The man on the path–innocent.

 

His body scarred and bloody,

Flogged and spit upon,

Weakened and fatigued,

Carrying a weight–the cross.

 

Knees collapsing into sand,

Simon forced to lift the load,

Yet the burden remaining

Within the man on the path.

 

Looking ahead to Golgotha,

The place of the skull—

Death awaits, has waited. . .

Since his first cry in the manger.

 

The man has seen the path ahead–

In the temple on His Father’s business,

In the upper room sharing the bread,

In the garden praying alone “Thy Will.”

 

We watch from a distance, His path,

And know the final walk is victory.

The man, Son of God, on the cross,

Obedient to sacrifice–“It is Finished.”

 

(Sharon  G. Tate 03/25/18)    teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

 

J E S U S W E P T: Tears that give us hope.

 32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw Him, she fell at His feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

35 Jesus wept.  (John 11:32-35)

Jesus wept. Why? He could—and did—easily bring Lazarus back from the dead. He knew He could exchange their tears of sorrow for tears of joy. Jesus told the disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.” (Matthew 28:18)  There was no logical reason for Him to weep. Yet, He wept-with deep feeling.

He wept with empathy: “the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions: the ability to share someone else’s feelings.” 1 Jesus witnessed the great sorrow of Mary and the Jews who were with her and was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.  He understood what they were feeling and shared this grief and loss with them, even though He knew what they didn’t know or understand—that He could bring Lazarus back to them.  Jesus was a brother in this moment, a man who shared the human sorrow of Mary and those Jews who came with her. Then, Jesus called Lazarus forth from the grave with the power given Him as Lord and Master.

Jesus was both man and God. Yet, He was not above meeting us at our human level. He came to this earth to become human.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (Philippians 2:5-7)

And we are called to become like Him in our relationships with each other, taking on the nature of a servant,” not to be above others—but to meet them at their level with understanding and empathy.

Jesus goes with us through our sorrow, our pain, our loneliness, our desperation, our darkest hours-and weeps with us. He knows what we are experiencing and can empathize fully. The hope we have to overcome these times in our lives lies not in our tears- but in His. If Jesus did not understand us from the human level through His time here on this earth, He would not be as approachable and could not truly hear, see, sense, feel, and share in our daily struggles throughout this life. It is why we can go to Him in prayer with the confidence that He understands and cares.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for “being made in human likeness” for us.

Thank you, Jesus, for your tears.

1 Empathy.http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/empathy

(Sharon G. Tate blog 03/18/18) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

 

WHAT WOULD I HAVE DONE? The question seeks an answer.

 

37 Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow You now? I will lay down my life for You.” 38 Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for Me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown Me three times! (John 13:37-38)

What would I have done?

The question seeks an answer.

Lay down my life for Him

And never disown my Lord.

Like Peter, I would boldly speak.

 17 “You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” she asked Peter. He replied, “I am not.”

25 Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?” He denied it, saying, “I am not.”

26 One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” 27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow. (John 18:17, 25-27)

What would I have done?

The question seeks an answer.

Within myself, I find doubt-

Denial, fear, guilt, sorrow.

Like Peter, I am also weak.

60 Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the words the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:60-62)

What would I have done?

The question seeks an answer.

I feel the Savior’s eyes on me-

Peering, knowing, forgiving.

Like Peter, I am weeping too

13 . . . “Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?”

14 And they said, “Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.”

15 He saith unto them, “But whom say ye that I am?”

16 And Simon Peter answered and said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven.

18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:13-18)

What would I have done?

The question seeks an answer.

Respond with “some say” or declare-

“My Lord is the Christ, the Son of God.”

Like Peter, let me boldly speak.

A weak vessel becomes strong. His actions declare, “I am His disciple.”  His faith speaks God’s Truth, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” He follows the command to go and spread this Truth to others.

WHAT WILL I DO TODAY?

The question seeks an answer.

   (Sharon G. Tate blog 03/11/18) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

The Empty Seat

 

Attendance taken.

Missing today.

 Check mark. √

Absent—beyond the check mark:

My day off, so I slept in.

Other things were scheduled.

Just didn’t feel like coming today.

I won’t be missed anyway.

****************************

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.       (Hebrews 10:24-25)

Your presence is an important encouragement to my growth in the Lord as my presence should be to yours. When we are absent from one another on the Lord’s Day, it involves more than empty seats.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship,  to the breaking of bread and to prayer. (Acts 2:42) 

The fellowship of our church family is less with your absence or my absence. When we commune together during the passing of the bread and cup, a seat—mine or yours– is skipped over. Our family is missing an important member.

11 So Christ Himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip His people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.               (Ephesians 4:11-13)

Together, we are strengthened and unified in the faith. We help each other strive to attain maturity in the Lord.

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. (Colossians 3:16)

To “admonish” is to advise, counsel, urge, take to task. I need you and you need me “to teach and admonish one another” in the Lord.

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ . . .15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body. (I Corinthians 12:12, 15-20)

The Lord misses you, and He misses me when we are absent. The body is not whole with the empty seat. He is there. His seat is never empty. “For where two or three gather in My name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20)

Let us be present with each other in the Presence of the Lord. You matter. I matter. 

Christ gave His life for you and for me.

 (Sharon G. Tate blog 03/04/18)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

HOPE, JOY, FAITH, PEACE vs A Meaningless Life

 

 

“Meaningless! Meaningless!”
    says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
    Everything is meaningless.”

What do people gain from all their labors
    at which they toil under the sun?

(Ecclesiastes 1:2-3)

Homeward

Objective

Perpetual

Emancipation.

8All things are wearisome,
    more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
    nor the ear its fill of hearing.
What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.

(Ecclesiastes 1: 8-9)

Jubilant

Onward

Yearning. 

15 Then I said to myself,

“The fate of the fool will overtake me also.
    What then do I gain by being wise?”
I said to myself,
    “This too is meaningless.”
16 For the wise, like the fool, will not be long remembered;
    the days have already come when both have been forgotten.
Like the fool, the wise too must die!

(Ecclesiastes 2:15-16)

Firmly

Anchored-

Internal

Thinking

Heavenward.

22 What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? 23 All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless. (Ecclesiastes 2:22)

Perfect

Eternal

Abba

Centered

Existence.

Which daily mindset will you choose?

 (Sharon G. Tate blog 02/25/18 ) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

JESUS WEPT. Did we?

A child dies tragically from malnutrition, a teen dies tragically from violence, a young adult dies tragically from abuse, a grandparent dies tragically from neglect. We don’t know them. But do we cry out to God for those lives lost and pray for this not to happen again!

As followers of Christ, we should be the ones who weep. As adopted brothers and sisters of Jesus, who wept with compassion and love, we, too, must have that deep compassion and love for others that would bring us to this point of empathy.

We are the “called out” who have His Light to share:

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful Light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (I Peter 2:9-10)

 The time of caring and praying cannot be measured through increments of time or in time lapses. We cannot put in our time during a few minutes of prayer, a ten-minute phone call, or a half hour visitation– and be done. It must be ongoing. “Pray without ceasing.” (I Thessalonians 5:17) Yet, we are called to do more than this:

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstancesfor this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (I Thessalonians 5:16-18).

How do we do all this always, in all circumstances—even when the circumstances are so tragic? The plan is not mine or yours in life and death. It is His. The vision is not mine or yours to fully see beyond the circumstance of the moment. It is His. The strength to endure through life’s hard times and heartaches is not mine or yours. It is given to us by the Lord when it is upon Him that we depend.

“I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)

And, thus, we weep and pray through the trials and tragedies of life. And we give thanks and rejoice that we have the Lord who shines His Light to help us find our way to others in their time of need, while we are still holding onto His hand through our own time of need.

 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.                                              (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

AMEN and AMEN.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 02/18/18) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word