Category Archives: Meditations on God’s Word

REFUGE IN GOD’S WORD AND PRESENCE: REMOVING THE MASK BEFORE GOD


 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward He was hungry. And the tempter came . . .  (Matthew 4:1-3)

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In a way, we are in a time of fasting– through abstinence. Due to the virus COVID-19, we are abstaining from societal involvement in life-changing ways. In Michigan, schools and colleges are closed, businesses are shut down, restaurant food is take-out or delivery only, salons are closed, only items deemed “essential” can be purchased at some larger stores. We are to “shelter-in-place” at home unless we are categorized as “essential” workers. We are to refrain from socializing with neighbors, friends, and family not living in the same household. Our faces are to be covered by a mask when making an “essential” trip to the store, the pharmacy, the doctor, a take-out restaurant and, in most places, when working with the public.

Our 40-day mark of abstinence in Michigan is upon us. . .

Has the tempter been waiting for us to approach the end of this forty days of abstinence? Are we weaker now? For what do we hunger? How will we act on that hunger?

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After His extended time of fasting, Jesus hungered. It was an opportune time for Satan to appear. Jesus was physically weakened. Yet, even in this weakness, Jesus was clearly strong in the Word and that sustained Him against the temptations of the tempter.

 4 It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4)

7 “Jesus said to him, Again it is written, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’” (Matthew 4:7)

 “Begone, Satan! for it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God
and Him only shall you serve.’”

11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him. (Matthew 4:10-11)

 It is still the Word that will be our strength against temptation. It is still our God who will minister to us, through His Word, and through “angels” in the form of brothers and sisters in Christ, friends, family, or even a stranger. “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2).

In this restricted time in 2020, will we use these days to seek God more in prayer? Will be become more patient and less anxious as we strengthen our relationship and communication with Him? Will we see more clearly that we can benefit from less societal distractions as we “serve” our time of abstinence?

When we take off the “masks,” what will we see in the mirror? What will we discern in our hearts that is different? Will we look at others more clearly with a renewed perspective from a God-view?

In a time of social and physical distancing, we can become closer to the One we need the most. With masks off, our true selves exposed, we come to Him. And He welcomes us with open arms.

When this time of distancing from others is lifted, let us not forget our God. Let us never distance ourselves from Him.

“And in the morning, a great while before day, He rose and went out to a lonely place,

 and there He prayed.” (Mark 1:35)

 When restrictions are lifted and boundless choices return,

let us choose first to meet with God, as did our Lord and Savior.

Let us hunger for His Word and for His Presence.

 

(Sharon G. Tate blog 04/19/2020) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

 

 

 

DISCONNECTED— FROM GOD

¹How long, O Lord? Wilt Thou forget me forever?
How long wilt Thou hide Thy face from me?
How long must I bear pain in my soul,
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
lighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;
lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him”;
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

(Psalm 13: 1-4)

Our enemy is different. It is not a physical intruder that we can combat with weaponry. Yet, like David, our current enemy, a virus, can rob us of peace and security and leave us shaken. We may be questioning God, asking where He is through this shadow of fear and death. “Where is the Light?  Have You forgotten us?”

“How long, O Lord?” is our plea.

These questions, however, are directed to the wrong source. REDIRECTING: Why don’t we seek His Light? How long will we try to hide our faces from Him? Have we forgotten Him? Is the pain in our souls and the sorrow in our hearts our own fault, because we remain disconnected from Him?

David reconnects with God in the next lines of the psalm, recognizing that the problem is his own faith toward God and not a question of God’s faithfulness to him.

But I have trusted in Thy steadfast love;
    my heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
    because He has dealt bountifully with me.

(Psalm 13:5-6)

David’s words to God in these two verses should be our own.

RECONNECTED–WITH GOD

The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
    to all who call upon Him in truth. (Psalm 145:8)

We are never alone before any enemy or threat. We are never alone before anything or anyone that may do us harm, including ourselves—as long as we are connected with Him.

STAY SAFE–with God. STAY HOME–with God.

STAY CONNECTED—WITH GOD!

AND NEVER DISCONNECT FROM THE SOURCE OF HOPE AND PROMISE

AND EVER-FAITHFUL LOVE.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 04/5/2020)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

WHEN FEAR IS NEAR . . .

When I am afraid, I put my trust in You. (Psalm 56:3)

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Fear is Near–                                                                                      Muscles tense,                                                                            Thoughts  implode,                                                                        Clarity fades,                                                                                      Reason irrationalizes,                                                                    Anxiety thrives–                                                                                Peace is Distant.

30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day. (Matthew 6:30-34)

Fear is like a thief in the night, stealing God’s promises from us,

as we toss and turn in restless slumber.

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27)

 His peace has been given to us. It is now—and everlasting. Only our fear and anxiety can make us question His promises, lose sight of His gifts, and cast His hope away.

Yet, He is near, sending us a lifeline back to Him.

When anxiety was great within me,
    Your consolation brought me joy.

(Psalm 94:19)

FEAR separates us from God’s loving, outstretched hand.

FEAR separates us from Jesus waiting on the other side of the door.

FEAR holds us back from opening ourselves to Him to receive His peace.

FEAR allows anxiety to grow and create a vacuum, a space devoid of God’s hope.

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

 NOTHING CAN SEPARATE US FROM GOD— EXCEPT US.

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)  AMEN!

(Sharon G. Tate blog 03/29/2020) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

IN GOD, WE MUST PUT OUR TRUST.

23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. . . (Hebrews 10:23)

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From the time we were children, we have experienced fear: 

    “When but a child, I feared the dark, yet under covers peered                         

     At ghastly forms by street-illumed in bedroom corners drear; 

     Near heaps of clothes uncanny shapes in shadows moved about; 

     My widened eyes sleep could not close as creatures nearer crept . . .”

From a poem I wrote to my grandmother, the ending involves her coming to rescue me by watching over me as I slept. I had a very special relationship with my grandmother, spending many summers with her and my grandfather, always feeling safe in her presence, putting my trust in her when I was a child. But, then, Alzheimer’s claimed her, and I went to stay with her for another purpose—to calm her fears and watch over her as she slept.

Human caregivers and loved ones cannot be the ever-present protectors that we need –for the simple fact that they are mortal and subject to the many frailties of life. The only ultimate caregiver who will always watch over us and protect us when we put our trust in Him is God, our Creator, the forever “I AM”. He knows us better than our parents, our grandparents, our close friends, our brothers or sisters in Christ.

God knows our fears and holds our tears.

We are living in uncertain times. Life is not as we have known it, from expectation. This can result in increased anxiety and fear as we face unknown circumstances and futures. Yet, the Psalmist David says it clearly, “In God I put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 56:11). In these times of global uncertainty, it is not a virus or men that we should fear—but God, for if  we do not put our trust in Him and praise His Word , we cannot secure our eternity with Him.  He is ever with us, but we must also be with Him.

6 Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.  

(Deuteronomy 31:6)

“Now I lay me down to sleep/I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake, I pray to God my soul to take.
If I should live for other days/I pray the Lord to guide my ways.
Father, unto thee I pray/Thou hast guarded me all day;
Safe I am while in thy sight/Safely let me sleep tonight.” ¹

I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.  (Psalm 4:8)

 ¹ A Child’s Bedtime Prayer: version by Henry Johnstone.  www.beliefnet.com

(Sharon G. Tate blog 03/15/2020)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

 

 

 

 

GOD’S GIFT OF LIFE

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

(John 1:1-5)

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Our mind’s eye view of a gift may be on a Christmas morning as a child, looking excitedly with wonder and joy at all the presents under the tree, wrapped in beautiful  paper and colorful bows, the glowing hues of tree lights and a shining star illuminating the room. Yet, life is not always the ornately wrapped gift that we await in anticipation and excitement to view. What we open and experience in our gift of life can involve difficult, tragic, heart-breaking circumstances with great suffering. Not the version of a “gift” we remember as a child.

What can we do when life is not the gift we want to unwrap, behold, and accept as our own with our name tag on it?

O God, thou art my God, I seek Thee,
my soul thirsts for Thee;
my flesh faints for Thee,
as in a dry and weary land where no water is.
So I have looked upon Thee in the sanctuary,
beholding Thy power and glory.
Because Thy steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise Thee. (Psalm 63:1-3)

 “THY STEADFAST LOVE IS BETTER THAN LIFE . . .”

Through His steadfast love, the Light to guide us through the darkness of the difficult aspects of life is provided with the gift of this life. Christ dispels all darkness with His Light. We must turn to Him to find sanctuary, hope, and strength in His Light. When we do, the Light reveals gifts in life that we may have overlooked as we tried to deal with the struggles on our own. . .

Did we miss the sunrise, that promise of another day? Did we not hear the birds awakening the new day with song? Were we too overwhelmed with the difficulties in life that we missed the wonder of a child’s smile, then failed to notice our own joyful smile in return? Was the meal before us at the table not welcomed with thanksgiving?  Did we not gaze with appreciation and awe as the flaming brilliance across the western sky closed the day to give us rest?

Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.  (James 1:17)

And from His fulness have we all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:16-17)

 This gift of life will include struggles, as we try to live as Christ lived. Yet, God’s grace is ever with us. His gifts are always good. To enter eternal life with Him, we must open the gift with our name tag on it—and live the life He has given to each one of us, living this life for Him and His purposes.

20 Now to Him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, 21 to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.                         

 (Ephesians 3:20-21)

 (Sharon  G. Tate blog 03/08/2020) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

 

 

 

 

 

LIVING FORWARD IN CHRIST JESUS

 “Say not, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’
    For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.” (Ecclesiastes 7:10)

THE GOOD OLD DAYS

Those days of yore

Cast in the lore

Of memories,

Picture-framed

In glass perfected,

Rose-colored

In time sight–

The captured past.

How “good” were the “good old days?”

We tend to reflect on those times with rose-colored glasses.

 “You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood. . . back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time–back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.” 1

But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19:26) Remember Lot’s wife. (Luke 17:32)

The best days are ahead, not behind. The eternal home is before us. To enter, we must become a new creation. And not look back.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

 The “new has come.” Have we crossed the new threshold and entered, closing the old door securely behind us? Have we obtained the wisdom: “I haven’t come this far, to come this far.”

12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. 13 Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)

 “I press on—” The goal is ahead. The Lord waits, patiently waits, for us to continue forward, persevering onward toward Him.

1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.                (Hebrews 12:1-4)

 “Consider Him” when we grow weary, frustrated, or depressed. “Consider Him” when we feel we cannot go on and think of turning back. “Consider Him . . . seated at the right hand of the throne of God” and find the strength and hope to continue, “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.”

LET US PRESS ON TOWARD THE WAITING ARMS OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR–AND TRULY ARRIVE HOME.

1 Wolfe, Thomas. You Can’t Go Home Again. www.goodreads.com/quotes

( Sharon G. Tate blog 03/01/2020) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

 

JESUS DEFINES LOVE FROM THE CROSS

 

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. ” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

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Jesus gave us the example of what love is through His actions.

“(16)This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (17) If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? (18 ) Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:16-18)

Our Lord exemplified humility on the cross as He took our sins upon Himself. He showed great patience with us, even as sin continued while He endured this trial. He acted in gentleness, not lashing out at those who were crucifying Him, but instead asking the Father to forgive them–to forgive us.

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2)

The love Christ showed to us all that day on the cross, with outstretched hands held by nails, has endured past those dark hours to the sunrise when He arose and to every sunrise thereafter and yet to come. Love knows no boundaries of time.

“Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are                   tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”             (1 Corinthians 13:8)

(Sharon G. Tate blog 02/23/2020) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

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.
1 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 02/14/2020)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

 

HE Waits at the Door

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears My voice and opens the door,  I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me.  (Revelations 3:20)
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“A man will be imprisoned in a room with a door that’s unlocked and opens inwards, as long as it does not occur to him to pull rather than push.” 1
Jesus waits at the door. If we just open it to Him,  He will enter. When we open our inner selves to Him, He releases us from the bondage of self.
The door will open
When we pull it toward us.
Yet, we push and push outward,
Exerting our own strength
In an attempt to escape
The imprisonment of self,
That inner room
Where we dwell alone.

 

If only we would pull,
To open ourselves to the Lord,
Allowing His entrance inside,
Freeing the self of us
Through the sacrifice of Him,
Our inner room filled
With the sound of His voice,
The fullness of His presence.
           WHEN WILL IT OCCUR TO US TO PULL OPEN THE DOOR–                                                        AND GREET THE MASTER?

(Sharon G. Tate blog 01/19 2020) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

1 Ludwig Wittgenstein. http://www.wiseoldsayings.com

 

 

RESOLVED TO SERVE GOD IN 2020

                      

Ready for the Lord’s Will in my life.

Enlisted in His service as a Prayer Warrior.

Servant to others in His Name.

One with the Lord, able to make a difference for God in word and deed.

Leaning on God for daily strength, decision-making, and wisdom.

Vocal in spreading His message of hope, truth, and salvation.

Embracing the call of discipleship, following Jesus all the way.

Devoted to God, first and foremost, in my life.

With man alone, resolve fails. With God, all things are possible.
 I AM RESOLVED: 2020 BIBLICAL RESOLUTIONS
As we form–and affirm–our own resolutions for this new year, may we take to heart the Word of the Lord our God; the counsel of His servants Paul and Joshua; and the prayers of David, whom God called “a man after My own heart, who will do all My will” (Acts 13:22).
Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.             
Philippians 3:12-14 12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 
Colossians 3:14-15 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.       
Luke 6:31  And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.                            
Ephesians 6:17-20  17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.                                                                          
 Luke 6:27-28 27 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.                                                              
Psalm 139:23-24 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,  And lead me in the way everlasting.                                  
Joshua 24:15 . . . But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.                                             
Isaiah 43:18-19 This is what the Lord says: 18 “Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old.19 Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
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 As we contemplate a new year of promise, let us follow Biblical examples of resolve. What “new thing” can we do for the Lord? What “road in the wilderness” can we tread daily so others can clearly see the path to follow, joining us in our walk with Christ? What “rivers in the desert” will flow with Living Water when we share Jesus with those who thirst?

   NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION:

366 DAYS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE FOR THE LORD.

 

(Sharon G. Tate blog 01/05/2020) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word