Consider The Source (Guess Blogger)

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Hello everyone today I would like to introduce to you Carole Anne:
Carole Anne Hallyburton began His Own Heart Ministries as a weekly devotional blog during her days as a graduate student of Christian Education at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary – Charlotte, where she also served as student body president for two years. In addition to her master’s degree from GCTS, Carole Anne holds a bachelor’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. She teaches ancient Hebrew language, reviews books for B&H Publishing Group, Paraclete Press and Crossway USA. She additionally serves on the Board of Advisors for Bible Journey, LLC, a producer of online curricula for churches, small groups and individuals.

Sometimes it cuts like a knife and breaks a person’s heart.

It tops the proverbial list as one of the most all-at-once difficult things to do.

But then again – at times – it’s the only scriptural thing to do: choosing to respond with grace to a less-than-graceful situation. Consider the source, as my maternal grandmother often said. And let it go. Walk away.

Did you know, in fact, that Jesus Christ set just such an example for us on several New Testament occasions? One in particular involved the fateful decision of the rich young ruler who approached Him in search of eternal life (see Matthew 19:16-30). While Scripture doesn’t record that He did so, I can almost see our Savior concluding the conversation with something like, I’m so sorry you like this, but go your way in peace.

And of course His tantamount demonstration of the principle is seen in His response to those heinous accusers who mucked, taunted, humiliated, abused the Savior in His darkest hour as He hung on the cross. With thorns piercing His head, nails driven heartlessly through His hands and feet – and shouldering a world of false accusations, lest we forget – He asked that God the Father forgive [those accusers], for they know not what they do (Luke 23-24).

Never, ever in my humanity will I begin to possess even the purity that resides in the tip of one of the fingers on those beautiful, nail-scarred hand of Jesus, but the rich young ruler, the cross and several other scenes from Scripture rolled like a film through my mind late last fall. Numbly I turned from the grave of my beloved paternal grandparents. Just two weeks earlier, I had been excited while out with friends to find the ornamental vase on the military headstone empty – I’d waited patiently for several years to place flowers there. Since no one has a legitimate claim on the vase or the stone (Granddaddy earned them himself for his service to America in Tokyo Bay, Japan, during World War II), I went straight from the cemetery, purchased two sprawling, gorgeous bunches of artificial sunflowers and placed them. I wish you could have seen them.

But barely a week passed and my spirit went numb when – again with friends – I found this new bouquet replaced by a mini-poinsettia arrangement. The numbness later gave way to what felt like a knife twisting deeply into my stomach when, ironically, I learned that there was footage of the sunflowers being removed and replaced with the new arrangement. Although what I saw on the footage merely confirmed what I had to that point suspected, it was difficult to fathom there in black and white. Suspicion is simply suspicion until one is faced with undeniable fact; and when a fact what I saw emerges, it devastates.

Been there yourself? No fun, is it? I’ve learned over the years that a spiritually intimate communication system with Jesus can and will go a long way in carrying God’s child through the mire of devastation, betrayal and heartbreak when dreaded suspicion turns to cold hard truth. So take heart: there is a workaround.

But it demands that God’s child make the difficult-yet-deliberate choice to step back from human emotions, grit her teeth, hit her knees and ask Christ to lead the way. It’s a challenge that grows easier for the Christ-follower who has fallen in love with Jesus as opposed to simply loving Jesus out of some obligation. That’s a whole different blog post, though.

By His grace and to His glory, He enabled me to hedge my feelings about the flowers and the frustration and ask for grace to process them all in His way for His purpose. Within the hour, He brought the Aaronic Blessing to mind (Numbers 6:24-26). Also called the Aaronic Benediction, it contains the words used by Aaron and other priests as a sending-forth of Old Testament Israelites from worship services in the tabernacle and is still used to dismiss many of our church services today. Yesterday, however, it was the ancient Hebrew rendering of the passage – in other words, what it meant to its original audience instead of America’s perception of it today – that God had me to apply in response to the situation at hand.

The English rendering of the blessing reads thus:

The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: the Lord make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

It’s actually a beautiful blessing but it’s also a blessing easily memorized and often recited without much thought. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the English words to get a grasp of their specific Hebrew meanings and images they involve: bless, keep, gracious, grant and peace. Note that I have italicized the transliterations following their Hebrew forms below.

– Bless
In the passage, the Hebrew verb ברך (barak) is written in its piel conjugation and means to show respect, to bless, at times to kneel. These definitions, though, carry a bit of an abstract flavor; by looking at other words related to the verb, we can find a more concrete interpretation for a more focused phrase. Such words include the nouns ברך (berek) meaning knee and ברכה (berakah) meaning a gift, a present. From this we can see that to bless in this case insinuates the bringing of a gift to another while kneeling out of respect. The extended meaning of this word is to do or to give something of value to another. So we’re actually asking God to bless a person by gifting him or her with something of value.

– Keep
A nomadic people raising livestock, it was not uncommon for Hebrew shepherds to spend nights in a field with their flocks, away from other Israelites. In order to protect his flock, the shepherd would construct a makeshift fence of thorn bushes or brambles, thereby guarding his flock and creating a literal hedge of protection around them. The Hebrew rendering of thorn is שמיר (shamiyr), which is derived from the verb שמר (shamar), literally meaning to guard, to keep, to protect. Here, then, we’re asking God to place a stalwart hedge of protection around the person of our focus.

– Gracious
While most theologians tend to define grace as unmerited favor, the idea of grace takes on a slightly less abstract meaning in the Aaronic Blessing. The Hebrew verb translated as gracious in the passage is the verb חנן (hhanan) and is often grouped with Hebrew words meaning to heal, to help, to be lifted up, to find refuge, strength and rescue. From a more concrete Hebraic perspective this verb means to provide protection beyond the aforementioned hedge. To obtain protection, a member of a flock typically looks to its shepherd. We are asking Christ – the Good Shepherd – to provide a haven of comfort and safety for the subject of our prayer.

– Grant
The Hebrew verb שים (siym), means literally to set something or someone down in a fixed and arranged place. Read on to learn the significance of this word within its phrase.

– Peace
Ah, we have arrived at the final and often most pivotal word of the passage. Our Western culture tends to associate peace simply as an absence of war or strife, but שלום (shalom) as used in this passage has quite a varied meaning. It is derived from the root שלם (shalam) and is generally used in the context of restoring or bringing restoration to one who is missing something needed in his or her life. The verb shalam literally means to make whole or complete. The noun shalom has the more literal meaning of being in a state of wholeness, or being without deficiency. So in the phrase grant you peace, we are asking God to restore the person to physical, emotional and – most importantly by far – spiritual wholeness by setting the person down in a divinely-appointed place for said restoration to happen. That’s something that only He can do.

Now – get this – while Old Testament priests spoke blessings like this one in front of the entire Israelite congregation, the verbal conjugations in the Aaronic Blessing are specifically written in singular form, not plural. In other words, and although the blessing was spoken over a group of many, its phrases were directed at each individual within that group. In the midst of a public gathering, then, the priest recognized and blessed each person in an individual, personal manner.

The irony of this individuality struck me on that autumn evening as I quietly spoke the Hebrew version of Aaronic Blessing while thinking of the poinsettia arrangement, the sunflowers Granny would’ve loved, the ones I’ll always miss.

And – most importantly – the irony struck me as I spoke the words of the passage over the party who replaced the latter arrangement with the former. The words, at their most literal level, translate to English like so:

May God kneel before you, presenting gifts and guarding you closely with a hedge of protection. May His gaze illuminate the wholeness of His being toward you, bringing needed order to your life, giving you comfort and sustenance. May He lift up His wholeness of being and look upon you with love. May He set in place all your mind, body and soul needs – everything – to be whole and complete and restored in and through Him.

It was indeed all-at-once one of the most difficult things to do and the only thing to do: consider the source, then let it go.

Before I walked away.

(A beautiful rendition of The Aaronic Benediction, performed by Joshua Aaron and Misha Goetz, is available for listening here. May it bless you.)

Copyright 2018, Carole Anne Hallyburton. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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Why A Heart Needs To Rest (Guess Blogger)

I would like to introduce to you Rebecca Jones:

I’m a writer, Christian, I love music and art. I am hoping to encourage others, to inspire them to follow their dreams and trust Jesus. I am always working on improving my blog, keeping with the theme of teaching women to rest and be the beloved, and to depend on the mercy and grace of our Lord. It’s all for His glory. Thank you reading or following, blessings. https://www.pinterest.com/beckyspage1916/

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Why does a heart need to rest? Proverbs 23:4 says to guard it, for out of it flows everything you do. Sometimes, it translates it that issues flow. And they do. I was guilty of not guarding mine. I let things said and done hurt me to the extreme. My heart was overwhelmed and I had to turn to Jesus. I truthfully, don’t think I would have survived had I not.
I am very good with words, for God’s glory. I try to choose them wisely. I highly recommend reading Proverbs about words. Soft words, kind words, and healing words, all do a heart good. The Bible is full of love and poetry. John is the best book to read about God’s love. Sow these words into your heart so you can meditate on them and walk in them, and speak them at a moment’s notice.

You, as a believer, have an enemy. The devil would like nothing better than to steal from your heart and he will if you let him. Mark 4 and Matthew 17 describe the sower and how he comes immediately for the Word’s sake. And he will wriggle it out of your heart, break it out, rip it out. Anyway, he can get it! Using anybody he can. Family, fellow Christians, it doesn’t have to be someone you may not know or pay much attention. You have to get close to inflict these wounds.
Look at how the disciples argued, Jesus rebuked Peter, there was contention and the worst of all Judas. Jesus loved them all and look how they treated Him. They even ran when He was arrested. Jesus is the most forgiving person ever and look how people treat Him. even now, they call Him when they need Him but how often can we say we talk to Him about little things, big decisions or anything at all. Even a moment of thanks, ” Where are the other nine?, He asked of those He healed.

I talk to Him all the time now. I used to just pray, but now I talk to Him as a friend, a best friend. I tell Him things I can’t tell anyone else. Nothing extreme, just sorting things out, so I won’t make the same mistakes. Your heart needs to rest and that’s more than less stress, watching your diet or even medication. It’s His rest, work for it, concentrate and focus on the healer of hearts, not the breaker. And I’m not just talking romance here. Love is so much more than that.
His love is deeper than a physical relationship, yet, as intimate as a marriage. I love Jesus and He loves me even more! So let your heart rest and safely trust in Him, you can trust your heart if He’s in it! Watch your words. His heart beats for you. Rest! So your heart will receive His peace and that passes understanding. Rebecca Jones

A heart at peace gives life to the body. Proverbs 14:30
He left us His peace and it is important to speak that into our hearts and spirits. Even for health to our bodies. John 14:27, We also need the peace that passes understand to guard our hearts. Philippians 4:7

God’s Greatest Story of Grace (Guess Blogger)

I hope you are having a lovely day. I am extremely excited to be having a sweet sister in Christ share a beautiful blog post with you.  A little about Crystal:

Hi, I’m Crystal, I am wife to husband Michael, mother to 3 growing kids- Anna, Grace &

When I am not at home taking care of my family you will most often find me at my church. There I serve in AWANA as a leader and I am happy to help with anything else that needs to be done. I will join our ladies Bible study group as often as I can. I love to be able to dig into Scripture and share it with friends.

God’s Word is my greatest passion. I studied Theology (Bible) at Dallas Christian College where I had the best professors (I am a little partial) who not only taught me about the Bible but because of them, I fell in love with God’s Word. I enjoy drawing and painting when I can squeeze it in. When you mix a Bible student with an artist you get me, many of my recent paintings reflect whatever I was studying at the time. I am enjoying this because when I show my paintings I am then able to share my passion, God’s word.

God’s greatest story of grace the story of Salvation.

The Gospel is the most amazing story of love that you will ever find. It is simple enough for a child to understand and so that is how I am going to talk about it today. Not that you are a child but there is no point in making complicated what is simple.

God made everything, including you and me. In fact, we are God’s beloved creation made in His very image. He loves us deeper and wider then we can ever imagine.

The Bible is the story of His great love for us from Genesis to Revelation.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth – Genesis 1:1

You are worthy, our Lord and God to receive glory and honor and power for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being  -Revelation 4:11

 

 no matter who you are you can see that this is an imperfect world. It is imperfect because of something the Bible calls sin; because of this sin we are separated from God because of sin we deserve to go to hell and be separated from God for eternity.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God  -Romans 3:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord  -Romans 6:23

 

God loves us so much the He sent Jesus.

Jesus was born of a virgin, a miraculous conception and the only way He could be born sinless.

Jesus did many signs and taught while He walked this earth proving that He is God.

He Chose the Nails

He chose the nails – for me & for you

He was betrayed by one of His closest friends. This was allowed so that He might be our perfect sacrifice taking the punishment we deserve for our sin.

Jesus was beaten and hung on a cross though He was the only one who has ever been and will ever be sinless.

After He died this horrible death, His body was then taken and placed in a nearby tomb, guarded by Roman soldiers. But just 3 days later something amazing happened, the tomb was opened reviling it was empty!

 

He is not Here!

He is not Here

Jesus had done what He said he would and rose from the dead!

He defeated the power of sin and death… He made away for us to be free and now able to join Him in heaven one day. There is nothing we can ever do to be good enough or pay for our own sin it is only through the shed blood of Jesus that we are forgiven.

For God so love the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life  -John 3:16

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

For by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God – not of works, so that no one can bost. -Ephesians 2:8-9

All we must do is believe and accept His free gift of eternal life.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me”. -John 14:6

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. -Romans 10:9

 

Gospel - ABCsYou may have grown up in church or maybe you have never walked through the doors of one it doesn’t matter, God loves you! He made away for you to live with Him eternally in Heaven.

I will ask you this one question; has there ever been a time when you have accepted this free gift of salvation from your sin?

If you have and know without a doubt that you are saved, great!

But, if do not know of a time that you have done that then allow me a minute here to explain how you can do just that.

You can simply pray,

God, I admit I am a sinner and I deserve to go to hell for my sin,
I believe that you sent Jesus and that He paid the price for my sin.
I chose today to accept the gift of salvation you have offered me
and want to live with you forever in Heaven.
Please forgive my sin, come into my life and change me,
teach me to follow you for the rest of my life.

in Jesus name Amen

 

If you have prayed this for the first time I encourage you to find someone you know is a Christian or just walk in the doors of a church, go tell someone.

I promise you there is nothing that will bring them greater joy then you sharing this. I would love to hear from you too!

I told you it is not complicated simple enough even a child can understand and yet it is the greatest story of grace ever told. God loved us so much that He made a way to save us from our own sin and now He offers us the gift of salvation.

 

I was a young girl when I accepted this gift. I will share my story of salvation next time.

Be sure to check out Crystal’s blog.

Do Not Lose Heart

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Therefore we do not lose heart. Through outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is light,thanks,thankfeternal.                                                     2 Corinthians 4:16-18

You are being transformed into God’s image from Glory to Glory. Trust  His Spirit to do this massive work in you. Yield to his ways, wisdom, and will. When life gets tough, don’t waste those hard circumstances. Instead, ask God to use them to transform you more and more into His likeness, helping you to become your true self. You must be willing to share in Christ sufferings so that you may also share in His Glory.

Though your troubles may seem heavy and endless, they are actually light and momentary, compared to the eternal Glory they are achieving for you. This is why it is reasonable and right to thank God for hard times, to praise him for ongoing troubles. This serves a dual purpose. When you give thanks in the midst of adversity, because of who God is, and for what He has done for you, God is glorified. And your thankfulness helps you make progress in your transformation from Glory to Glory. 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Time Alone With God

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You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you. I thirst for you, my while being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods, with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you: I think of you through the watched of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings, I cling to you; your right hand upholds me will be destroyed; they will go down to the depths of the earth. They will be given over to the sword and become food for jackals. But the king will rejoice in God, all who swear by God will glory in him, while the mouths of liars will be silenced.

Psalm 63:1-11

Perhaps these days we can do with the advice Christ gives to us, because many of us don’t have a place for our quiet time, a quiet room where we can bear our souls to God. It’s not about the room, but about the quiet moments we spend alone with God. When I started my blog a little over two years ago it was because of a class in ministry that I was involved with, and after thinking about the name I came up with Quiet Moments With God. For myself I enjoy a good hot cup of tea, where I take my cup and my Bible head onto my back deck (if the weather is okay) and just be along with my Lord. Life is so demanding these days that we truly need the time along with him. We have a hundred responsibilities in and outside home, as well as our Christian activities, perhaps holding down a job and running around with our children. In many houses there is no such thing as a quiet room anymore.

Because of this, it is difficult to concentrate, introspection becomes rare and we don’t feel the need to withdraws from the buzz of the world as much, and to find strength in fellowship with God. We know that this results in spiritual impoverishment. We can only stay strong and powerful in our deepest being through solitary fellowship with God. When you are alone behind a closed door to escape from the world with its pressing problems you should not even leave the door ajar. If you do, you can be sure that the world will follow you and disturb your quiet time. 

What it boils down to is that we need to have a closed door between us and the world outside. Even the presence of a best friend is a hindrance. If ever anyone knew how to pray it was Jesus, and yet He withdrew from the circle of His most trusted apostles to spend the entire night alone on a solitary mountaintop in prayer with His Father. This is what it means to ‘shut the door behind you.”

In the Gospel of Mark 1:35 he tells us that very early in the morning while it was still dark, Jesus got up left the house and went off to a solitary place to prayed. So if Jesus knew how important prayer was while he was here on earth, and how important to stay connected to His Heavenly Father is, shouldn’t we do the same.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

The Hope In The Resurrection!

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The season of Easter brings hope to not only Christians but also others who are seeking to know and understand the truth. These words of Jesus before he was crucified: “At that time people we see the Son of Man coming with great powers and glory. And he will send his angles and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heaven.  Now lean this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you will know that it is near, right as the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”   Mark 13:26-31                    “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. ”                                          Matthew 24:36

Jesus is our Risen Savior and Lord! Through his resurrection you have been born again to an ever-living hope. It is vital for you to remain hopeful, no matter what is going on in your life. People put their hope in a variety of things, wealth, power, health, material things and even other people, but these are all insufficient. When storms bre4ak upon your life, you can find only one adequate source of help which is Christ! The hope he provides is an anchor for our soul, firm and secure even in the difficult storms in your life. A good way to stay anchored with Jesus us to whisper his name an often as possible and calling on his name for help. This affirmation strengthens you and keeps you connected with him. 

Jesus gives you hope that the best part of your life is not behind you. Rather, it stretches out before you gloriously, into an eternity of experiences that will get better. For now, though you inhabit a world of death, sorrow, crying, and even pain. Let the hope of the resurrection empower you to live since I have over come even death. In heaven Jesus will wipe away every tear from your eyes permanently! If this world were all there is, it would be tragic beyond description. The day will come when Christ will return and destroy the entire universe as you know it. And he will replace it with a new universe where his followers will live forever in ceaseless ecstasy. Let this hope give you courage to keep holding your head up high as you endure suffering and sorrow. 

The best part of your life lies ahead, stored up for you in heaven, awaiting for your arrival, This is true for all Christians, both young and old. As you grow older and deal with infirmities, you may feel as if your life is closing in on you. Physically, your limitations do increase with age and illness. However, your spiritual life can open up even wider as your soul grows strong in the nourishing light of Jesus’ Presence. When you graduate to heaven, your soul-joy will instantly expand exponentially! Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.

Revelation 21:4

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

The Heart of Worship

1 Samuel 16.pngI will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.           Psalm 57:9-11

The Lord does look at the things people look at. People look at the things at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.                            1 Samuel 16:7

Worshipping God is something Christians do each and every Sunday or many of us do it every chance we do get to Praise the Lord. However, are we truly worshipping God is Spirit and in Truth. In the Gospel of John Jesus tells a Samaritan woman that God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.  ( John 4:24), but are we doing what we are called to do, or are we just going through the motions. It seems that most Sundays we as Christians are too busy with the fellowship of one another, and at times of the latest gossip that we are not centering ourselves with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  And by doing this we never realize that we are short changing our Creator as well as us when we do not worship God in Spirit and Truth.

God is the firm foundation on which you can dance and sing praises and continually celebrate His presence, just as you long to. Most of the time, however, you feel earthbound and weighed down. Worshipping God requires the engagement of your entire being, something you will delight in and yet somehow you may resist.

If you want to learn how to celebrate God more consistently, more abundantly, begin by lingering in God’s peaceful presence. Think of these words from the book of Psalm 46:10, “Be Still and Know That I am God.”  As you relax in His everlasting arms, sense how safe and secure you are. God is indeed the rock-solid foundation on which you can live exuberantly. Dancing, singing, and praying are ways you can express your delight in Him.

God’s very presence radiates Joy deep within our soul, unmeasured fullness. When you praise God, your joy increases, as does your awareness of His Holy Presence. Your body may or may not be mightily engaged in this endeavor, but God sees within our heart. This is where the ultimate celebration of God’s presence takes places.

Just empty your mind and think of nothing else but your loving Savior Jesus Christ.

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