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.

 

 

 

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

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

Someone Who Listens

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I called on your name, Lord, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.” You came near when I called you, and you said, “Do not fear.”                               Lamentations 3:55-57

The urge to talk to the Creator is part of who we are. It was created in us by the one who made us. Because we are, because we are alive and breathing, we pray. We pray because we simply need to talk with someone and many times we simply need someone just to listen and not judge us as humans have. Sometimes our pain goes so deep within our soul, that we just don’t want to share it with others. At times, in the still quiet of a sleepless night, we need to take our worries and fears, the ones that don’t seem quite so troubling in the daylight, to someone who cares and understands. Then there are days when our hearts are so full of joy, they are about to burst, and we’ve got to share it with the one we know is responsible. 

When their comes a time that you seem to be at a loss in knowing what to say, remember that the Spirit himself intercedes for you with groans that words cannot express. Some of your prayers that you consider frantic and unintelligible are actually quite profound. They rise from the depths of your heart, all the way to heaven. To form deep prayers, you need only turn toward Jesus with the concerns that lie heavy on your heart.

Jesus wants you to watch in hope as you wait for him, your Lord and Savior. Wait expectantly: confident that he will do what is best for you. The longer you have to wait, the more you must rely on your trust in him. If you begin to feel anxious, seek his help with short prayers. Jesus fill me with your peace, and he will. As you put your hope in him, his unfailing love rest peacefully upon you. Always remember that the line is always open to our Heavenly Father, and their is never a busy signal, so when you need to talk with someone, just begin talking and believe me, he is always willing to listen.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

“Here Is Your Son”

 

 

John 19

  Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved, standing nearby he said to her, “Woman here is your son, “ and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, the disciple took her into his home.      John 19:25-27

Our Scripture today  illustrates love born of the sincere heart of a child. Jesus was truly God but also truly human, yet without sin. He knew how much Mary had to suffer. Only love allows one to understand the suffering of another. The love of Christ always burnt brightly, for the entire sinful world, but also is tenderness for His only family and especially for his mother. Christ’s last command concerned his mother. He forgot himself, his own needs, his own sorrow. Human love was an important priority in Jesus’ life. In his dying hour and in his sorrow, he took care of his mother. If anyone dare say that they are taking care of their parents, let them look up at the cross on Golgotha and remember Jesus’ example. Jesus was never more thankful, tender and sensitive than at that moment. He loved his own until the very end. Jesus had already saved the man on the cross next to him, he had already prayed for his enemies, but he did not forget his mother! Human bonds bring responsibilities, responsibilities that remain even after our death. Christ’s suffering and death make us very aware of this. And so on the cross on Golgotha connects the two richest words on earth: mother and Jesus!

 

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friens

Wait For The Lord

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Teach me your way, Lord, lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witness rise up against me, spouting malicious accusations. I remain confident of this; I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Psalm 27:11-14

When we are waiting, trusting, and hoping for God, it is intricately connected, like golden strands interwoven to form a strong chain. Trusting is the central strand because it is the response from God’s children that he desires most. Waiting and hoping embellish the central strand and strengthen the chains that connects God to us. Waiting for God to work, with our eyes on him, is evidence that we really do trust him. If you or I mouth the words “I trust You” while anxiously trying to make sure things go our way, our words ring hollow. Hoping is future-directed, connecting you to your inheritance in heaven. However, the benefits of hope fall fully on me and you in the present. Because we belong to God, we don’t just pass time in waiting. We can wait expectantly, in hopeful trust. Keep our antennae out to pick up even the faintest glimmer of God’s Presence.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

You Can Go Home!

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In the Gospel of Luke Jesus talks to his disciples about the Parable of the Lost Son: read these words of Jesus: There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, Father give me my share of the estate. So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. When he came to his senses, he said, How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death. I will set out and go back to my father and say to him. Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants. So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him, he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

                                                                                  Luke 15:11-20

We might as well say it again, that it is never easy to get up and tackle the journey back to the Father’s house. People will make it difficult for you. Like the Prodigal Son, church-goers and others will make you feel unwelcome. there will be those who will remind you of your sinfulness. Even a preacher may say hurtful things at times. But one thing is certain: you don’t ever have to doubt the Father’s warm welcome. So carry on walking and head straight home back to God.

And so we see the lost son coming over the last hill, heart pounding. Only one refrain repeats itself: I’m going home! Then he reaches the last rise, and there he see the father’s house in all its glory. He is crying unashamedly now. And then, is it possible? he sees his father, and his is coming to meet him! Do you know that the last rise in the road? Golgotha! That’s what they call that hill. “The Father is coming to meet me,” you say. “But I see a cross standing there. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that every one who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

“And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20) Come, let us kneel before the Father in amazement. Let us thank God for the wonder of being able to go home. For there is nothing my friend that can ever separate you from the love of God through Jesus Christ the son, so hold you head high ever through we are sinners you and I are sons and daughter of the Most High King Jesus Christ, welcome home!

Dear Lord Jesus

Thank you for always welcoming us home to you with such love and compassion and with open arms. In spite of the many sins we have done you never stop loving your children. 

Amen

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

 

Compassion

Matthew 11.png    “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-29

Through these words written in the Gospel of Matthew, Christ speaks to people who are desperate in their search for God, trying hard to live a good life. Jesus’ invitation is meant for those who have become tired in their search for God and have been driven to despair. He invites those who have to shoulder heavy burdens in their search for the truth to come to Him. The Greeks believed it was hard to find God and when you did, it was difficult to tell anyone about Him. Zophar ask Job, “Can you solve the mysteries of God?” Can you discover everything about the Almighty? (Job 11:7)

The only way to get to know God is to focus on Jesus. The religion of the orthodox Jews was a heavy burden to them ( Matthew 23:4) It was a matter of endless rules and regulations, which weighed heavily on them in all spheres of life. The life Jesus gives us is not a burden that weighs us down, but a life that is specially made to suite each of us.

Christ’s yoke is put on our shoulders with love, and love makes even the heavies load light. When we think of the love of God, when we know that our “burden” is to love God, to love our fellow humans, then the burden becomes a song. The burden given with love is carried with love and therefore it is always light.

John Baillie a Scottish Theologian and Minister wrote “Give me a stout heart to bear my own burdens, Give me a willing hear to bear the burden of others. Give me a believing heart to cast all burdens upon Thee, O Lord.

Prayer: Loving Father God, thank you that your burden never becomes too heavy for your children.                         Amen

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.

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=here+i+am+to+worship

The Greatest Commandment

John 15 d.png     Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them an expert in the law; tested him with this question: Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment, and the second is like it, Love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the Prophets hand on these two commandments.”         Matthew 22:34-40

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was one of the great Christian thinkers of the twentieth century. He gave up his safe job as a teacher in America at the outbreak of the second world war to return to Germany. He was deeply aware of the sacrifices it would mean for him because of his opposition to the Nazi rule. He found great comfort in the compassion of his friends whose reputations and lives were at stake because they visited him in prison. 

Love is made up of little things. Although romantic love is an important matter, for some the most important thing in the world, is that God’s love that worked in the thought and hearts of His disciples, also manifested in the little and in deeds. Words and deeds mean the world to those who receive them. Are you having doubts; are you in depths of despair because of finances, relationships, or confusion? Nevertheless look for even the slightest ways in which you can show God’s love to one another. It will benefit them and you, if you remain in Christ and His love.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends