All posts by Sharon Tate

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

 

His Voice Speaking, His Light Penetrating Through Our Darkness

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us again. On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many. (2 Corinthians 1:8-11)

 

LOST.

Dusk wrapped in night.

DARKNESS.

Stars invisible to sight.

FEAR.

Moon hidden from light.

DESPAIR.

Mankind’s common plight.

 

When we are so lost into depths of adversity and affliction,

Where it seems hope cannot exist,

It is in these moments the Lord can be heard speaking,

His Light can be seen showing direction,

Breaking through darkness to remove the grip of fear

And the hopelessness of despair.

 

LOST.

Have you been there, in that place?

DARKNESS.

Have you heard Him, in that blackness?

SPEAKING.

Have you seen Him, through the gloom?

BRILLIANT.

Have you thanked Him, for His Presence?

For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:5-7)

LOST in DARKNESS, FEAR, and DESPAIR.

We only fully experience these when we are without Christ, when we don’t hear Him and see Him at our side as we go through the afflictions and trials of life.

Lord, help us hear Your Words of guidance and sense Your Abiding Presence with us through times of suffering and of joy.  Help us accept and understand that our lives  are being shaped and molded through trial and adversity for Your higher purposes.  Amen.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 02/11/18) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

 

The Ultimate Selfie: The Idol of Self

“To whom will you compare Me?
    Or who is My equal?” says the Holy One. (Isaiah 40:25)

“The image of man: idol”

In unnatural, unflinching stance,

 The model lifeless posed,

Before a block of solid stone,

   Which soon his likeness bore.

 

From chiseled fragments, features

  Formed upon that marble mass,

A human image cast in white,

   Polished smooth—but cold.

 

Feverishly, the skillful hands

   Worked the tools on stone,

The model’s figure to impose,

   Unnaturally on the mass.

 

The sculptor laid the tools to rest,

   His masterpiece complete,

And beheld the beauty captured

   Within that marble mold.

 

Toward the image stiffly walked,

   The model man without,

Confronting himself—yet not he,

   So lifeless caught in stone.

 

The image idol stood unmoved

   As its human form wept

Bitter tears of erring pride–

   Fallen , beneath an idle stone.

     ***********************

IN CONTRAST: The Creation of Mankind

Living creation, purposeful caretaker, thinking being from GOD—the ONLY CREATOR.

“The Image of God: man”

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in Our image, in Our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” (Genesis 1:26)

Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his  nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.  (Genesis 2:7)

27 So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and     increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”  (Genesis 1:27-28)

 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. (Isaiah 40:28)

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

Cloning, DNA manipulation, Gene editing, Resurrecting extinct species. Scientific      realities, attempts at breaking the “Divine Safe’s combination lock.” 1 Whatever image mankind “creates” can never completely replicate God’s living, breathing creation. It is hubris to think otherwise, and pride’s end is a destruction as sure as the eventual decay of the chiseled image.  WE ARE NOT GOD.

 What idol(s) have each one of us chiseled, shaped, and molded into our own lives

 in an attempt to form something we think could be a substitute or wanted addition

that might seem better, more, greater than what the One God has created for us,

 has offered to us, has waiting for us?

WHEN will we direct our focus toward the outward/other purpose from God here on this earth, instead of continuing our absorption with and into ourselves?

1 Frost, Robert. “The Last Poem.” Robert Frost Poetry and Prose. 1972 Rinehart Editions. p. 480

(Sharon G. Tate blog 02/04/18) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

 

Our Seasons with God

As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter,day and night will never cease. (Genesis 8:22)

WINTER:
White raiment
Crystalline sparkle
Powdery wisps
Silent echoes
Dormant life
Resting hope
In God’s time.

Winter, the season often associated with an end and death, actually signals the onset of new life and hope lingering beneath the soil–waiting. This is God’s promise—“as long as the earth endures.”

And what of our winter season here on this earth? Writers have linked youth with spring and summer, fall with aging maturity, and winter with our final years of decline. Can we not reframe the picture and see a different view of this stage in our lives:

White raiment: Donning a garment of greater purity before the Lord.
Crystalline sparkle: Shining in the Light of His Glory.
Powdery wisps: Rising above earthly ties for a closer view of heaven.
Silent echoes: Listening to the voices of those before us in the Lord.
Dormant life: Believing more is yet to be—beyond the “me” I now see.
Resting hope: Waiting patiently for new hope and life with God.
In God’s time: Trusting that His time is best in all seasons.

The winter years for disciples of the Lord should be ones reflecting a closer relationship with God, a greater purity within, a stronger belief held, a deeper longing for heaven, and a patient trust that the Lord will walk with us through this final season in our earthly lives.

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

Seasons praying hands of ages

–A white-haired woman in a wheelchair, focusing intently on the preacher’s message, whispers “Amen.”
–The younger woman sitting beside her, hearing the whisper, invokes “Amen.”
–An elderly man with a cane, standing before the congregation praying, speaks “Amen.”
–The younger man beside him at the table, following the example, echoes “Amen.”
–An older woman sitting in the pew, hearing both the message and the prayer, reaffirms   “Amen.”
–The young child beside the woman, looking up at her with innocent eyes, repeats “Amen.”

SO BE IT. Let us rejoice in the God-given seasons of our lives, being the lead and example for those passing through the seasons we have already experienced, as we prepare for our own winter that will come with its hope of promise. Thank you, Lord.  AMEN.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 01/28/18) 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)

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

“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?

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

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.

(Sharon G. Tate 01/21/18 blog) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

The God-Given Breath of Life

Behold, You have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before You. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah  (Psalm 39:5)

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

Penetrating cold. The mother shivers and heads back inside to add more layers, returning to brave the weather with the little boy who has begged to go outside all morning. The cold doesn’t seem to penetrate him though, as he laughs and plays in the snow. Happiness wraps him in warmth, while his breath expels odd shapes in the air. His mittened hand reaches out to hold captive the puffs which only elude him, dissipating too soon in the air. Yet, the hand reaches out again and again to try and capture those fading wisps in the frigid air.

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

Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow. (Psalm 144:4)

Someone described seeing your breath when it’s cold “like a puff of warm fog intruding on the cold air.”1 That warmth is the visible presence of life in a cold atmosphere. It is the proof that we are alive, yet it is, also, the warning that this breath lasts only a little while before it expires and is no longer visible. We cannot grasp it in the air and hold onto it.

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:14)

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. (Proverbs 27:1)

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

The young boy and his mother return inside to the warmth of the house, huddled close on the rocker. He blows outward, but sees nothing and asks his mother why this is so. She ponders how to answer and, finally, tells him that God provides the warmth of a home secure from the cold, so he can’t see his breath inside. She asks him to breathe deeply, hold his now unmittened hand in front of his mouth, and expel the breath. He feels the warm air and blows again and again. This is life, his mother tells him. When we can see and feel the breath from inside of us, we know God has blessed us with more time to be together. The boy smiles at his mother, snuggling closer, the mother capturing the moment in her heart, knowing this time will only last a little while.

For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding. (I Chronicles 29:15)

The time of our sojourn here,

Though transient,

 Is a blessing from God.

Breathe deeply. Exhale.

Smile and laugh.

Thank God for the moments.

 

1 Anonymous. Uk.answers.yahoo.com/questions

(Sharon G. Tate  blog 01/14/18)  teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

 

 

Prideful Hearts Humbled Before God

 

When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2)

In Dante’s Inferno, those whose prideful natures brought them to hell are given this punishment: “. . . the proud penitents carrying heavy rocks on their backs. The weight forces them to walk slowly, their bodies bent low to the ground.”1

The irony of this punitive measure is that the proud want to be visibly upright before others in a haughty manner. Carrying this heavy burden, they cannot walk ahead of and are unable to rise before others in a stance that would indicate power, authority and superiority. The “proud penitents” are humbled—in a physical way. Yet, it is one’s mind and soul that must be prostrate before God in a state of true humility– not the mere physical appearance of a submissive form.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4:10)

These prideful sinners were not penitent in true humility. In Jesus’s time, the Pharisees were the examples of overbearing pride. Jesus pointed to the Pharisees as those who served themselves and not the Lord, prideful in their accusations against Him and arrogant before others.

39 Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But now as for what is inside you—be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you. 42 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone. 43 “Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces. 44 “Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.” (Luke 11: 39-44)

Pride before God and others only brings one down, like the sinners depicted by Dante: Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.  (Proverbs 16:18)

God does not accept a prideful attitude of heart: The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. (Proverbs 16:5)

The Lord Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty,
for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled). Isaiah 2:12

 The burden of those guilty of pride is heavy and unending torture, while the burden of those in Christ is light with the promise of rest:

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

All will be humbled before God. The choice is whether we will do so of our own volition and find peace and rest in the Lord or if we will choose the path of pride and carry that weight on our backs throughout eternity– apart from God.

In what ways do we each need to confess to a prideful heart– and come to Jesus?                                                                                               1http://danteworlds.laits.utexas.edu/purgatory/03pride.html

(Sharon G. Tate blog 01/07/18) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

 

 

 

 

WITH CHRIST: A NEW HOPE IN A NEW YEAR

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:

The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

The clock hand slowly moves,

Minute-minute—second-second,

Midnight strikes, the ball drops,

Crowds cheer a New Year-

Singing “Auld Lang Syne.”

The old with the new. Nostalgia for the past. “Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should old acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne?”

We celebrate the New Year with friends and family who are part of our past. With      reminiscence of those shared memories, we look ahead to creating new ones in a new year.     Moving into the new year, we bring the past with us–“for auld lang syne” (for “old times’ sake” 2 ) and much more, to the extent that the past can become more influential than the present. Although the past is always part of us, it should never be the greater part of us.

In God’s Holy Word, the Old Testament is a place to return to—and not to be forgotten for much more than “auld lang syne” —for it gives us background, history, lessons, and   applications important to understanding the New Testament:

18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:18-19)

Although this passage references happenings and events during the time of the Israelites, there are applications for us in the present. We, too, must not dwell in the past. We must do “a new thing” and become a new creation in Christ. God shows us the way in the Word of the New Testament:

**If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)

**Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of       refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that He may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. (Acts 3:19-20)

** “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelations 21:4)

**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. (I Peter 1:3)

 The Apostle Paul gives us the resolution we need for this New Year: 

13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)

This resolution will be carried out and fulfilled if we remember this promise of help: 

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

The clock hand slowly moves,

Minute-minute—second-second,

Midnight strikes, the ball drops,

Old year passing, I watch the fall,

 Then look up to Him– hope anew.

1 www.independent.co.up/arts-entertainment “Lyrics to Auld Lang Syne”

2 www.scotland.org  “The History and Words of Auld Lang Syne”

(Sharon  G. Tate blog 12/31/17) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

 

The Savior Came in a Babe’s Form

1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.   (Luke 2:1-7)                                 

The Savior came

In a babe’s form–

Eyes with God-sight,

Omniscient Presence.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”                                                                     (Luke 2:8-12)     

The Savior came

In a babe’s form–

Voice with God-tone,

To speak the Word.

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.”  (Luke 2:13-14)                                                 

The Savior came

In a babe’s form–

Heart of compassion,

Love to offer.

 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. (Luke 2:15-18)                                                                    

 The Savior came

In a babe’s form,

Mind of God–

Wisdom To amaze.

19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. (Luke 2: 19-20)                                      

 The Savior came

In a babe’s form–

Do we ponder still

And glorify God?

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord! (Psalm 150:6)

 (Sharon G. Tate blog 12/24/17)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

 

 

 

 

JESUS NEVER CHANGES—BUT WE MUST!

 

 

Hebrews 13:8

New International Version:  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Revised Standard Version: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever.

New King James: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

King James: Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. ***********************************************************

The message is the same: Jesus does NOT change. He does NOT read new interpretations of the Bible, reflect on the author’s views, and decide to compromise His own knowledge. He does NOT listen to a speaker in a large auditorium who claims to proclaim new wisdom regarding the Word of God, question His own understanding, and change His entire belief system. He does NOT follow the daily concerns expressed on Facebook, Twitter, messaging or the newscasts with a fear of tomorrow; His faith is NOT shaken. He does NOT become desensitized to the despair, poverty, war, and violence in the world. He does NOT take a break or tire from listening to and hearing the prayers of those who lift up their voices to Him in supplication.  “For Jesus doesn’t change—yesterday, today, tomorrow, He’s always totally Himself” (Hebrews 13:8 The Message). 

There is no one else we can count on to be the same always. As we grow up, we see different aspects of our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and trusted adults. These important people in our lives are changing human beings, and so are we.

For us, change is necessary in order to grow spiritually. We need to examine differing perspectives, question those views, hold them up against the Word of God, read and study the Bible, and talk and pray with others who are searching for the Truth. We need to be able to discern what truth is, who is speaking truth, and who is speaking untruth. We haven’t arrived at the state where Jesus is—to fully know and understand.

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.” (I Corinthians 13:12 Revised Standard)

We don’t know now, but as Jesus promised His disciples, one day we will: “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” (John 13:7 NIV)

Our goal is to be more like Jesus, striving to reach that high standard—but we aren’t there yet. We can’t stay the same yesterday and today and forever to be like Him. We must change.

One day, we will know in full. One day, we will understand completely. One promised day, we shall be like Jesus:  “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (I John 3:2 NIV).

What changes do you and I need to make daily                                                  to become more like our unchanging Savior?

(Sharon G. Tate blog 12/17/17) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word