Encouraging, uplifting , positive thoughts rooted in the love of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Of Splinters And Secret Sins

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me… Psalm 139:1

I was somewhat disappointed when a large glass bottle fell to the floor and broke into pieces in the middle of a project. I was already strapped for time and this would only slow me down, but I picked up the larger pieces, swept the floor, and went back to my project. Unfortunately, I missed a tiny sliver and later spent more valuable time extracting it from my foot. Had I taken the time to carefully sweep and re-sweep the floor, I may  have found the splinter, but in my haste to get back to what was urgent, I cut corners and ended up paying the price.

The tiny little piece of broken glass was barely visible to the naked eye, but it brought the entire body to a screeching halt once it pierced my skin.  Sin is sin is sin… ‘big’ or ‘little’ all sin is sin, and any un-confessed trespasses can interfere with the believer’s walk.  The bigger pieces of glass were easier to see, so I had no trouble disposing of those, but the tinier pieces needed additional lighting and greater patience to remove them all.

For some of us, it’s easier to confess the ‘bigger’ things, especially when others are aware of them, but we should take care to constantly seek God’s cleansing, as ‘all the things that are done in secret will be brought to light.”  As human beings, we don’t have the capacity to forgive sins, but the Holy Spirit will alert us when we have crossed the line. It is a good thing to ask the Lord to search our hearts and cleanse us fully of any wrongdoings, so that we can be free to do what He wants us to do, instead of carrying on in our own strength and suddenly be brought to our knees by the ‘little sin’ that we forgot to ask Him to take care of.

The little piece of glass was hidden from my sight, but nothing is hidden from our Father. He will see what is inside our hearts whether or not we ask Him to look. After, all, He has searched us, and He knows us!

Inventory/Introspection: What are the ‘little things’ that I need to ask God to work out of me?

Personal Application:   “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9

Father, we are thankful for forgiveness and the ministry of reconciliation. We make mistakes more often than we admit, but it is wonderful that we can trust You to heal the big cracks and the little splinters!

Today we ask that the Light of the world would search through all the dark places, and help us to be upfront and honest with the things You reveal to us. Some ‘splinters’ have been there a while, and every now and then the pain reminds us to take care of them, but we ignore them and move on. May we be honest to You today and allow You to do a full sweep, removing anything that does not glorify Your name.

We release all those who have caused us pain, and we are asking You to help us not to cause pain to anyone.

May we run straight to You the next time we fall, trusting You to perfectly clean everywhere, even when we feel we have done a good job of taking care of the source of our pain.

Amen.

Blessings,
ann
Toni R
(c)
Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  .

Who’s Your Advocate?

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world 1 John 2:1-2

In some cultures, some types of sins are punished more heavily than others. For example, the woman caught in the act of adultery faced death by stoning, even though the man she was with did not face the same punishment. Fortunately for her, Jesus advocated on her behalf and gave her a fresh start.  (Click here to read her story )

Our sins may not be as widely known as hers, but we sin nonetheless. Our sins may not be deserving of such awful punishment. Or they may … Either way; Jesus stands ready to offer us a clean slate. As John wrote, we do not have to sin, but if we do sin, our Righteous Advocate, Jesus Christ will intervene on our behalf!”  The enemy of our souls may try to guilt us into hiding our transgressions, but Jesus knows them anyway! Not only does He know them, but His Sacrifice at Calvary was enough to atone for my sins, your sins, and for the sins of the whole world!

What a wonderfully comforting truth!

Inventory/Introspection: How does knowing Jesus is my Atoning Sacrifice affect the way I seek His forgiveness.  

Personal Application:   Having an Advocate is not a licence to sin

Father, we are so grateful for forgiveness!  We are thankful that we cannot amass wealth or sacrificial offerings or riches or deeds to earn forgiveness for sins, and that Your forgiveness is offered freely to all who will ask.

Help us to keep love at the base of what we do. If we love You and our neighbours as You commanded, then we will make every effort not to do anything to negatively impact the relationships.  May we never forget that we have a duty to forgive others, even as You forgive us for going off track..

May we experience Your love and grace in a new way this week, and may we be mindful of the opportunities that You give us to share Your love and grace with others.

Amen.

Blessings,
ann
Toni R
(c)
Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Our Father’s Embrace

But if I go to the east, He is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. When He is at work in the north, I do not see Him; when He turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of Him. But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold. Job 23:8-10

A little boy was quite unhappy at getting his hair cut, and he cried uncontrollably as the barber tried to complete the task. The crying eventually subsided when the father of the child decided to sit in the barber’s chair and hold the little one in his arms, soothing him as the barber worked.

In looking at the child resting comfortably on his father as he went through the uncomfortable process, I thought of how our Father carries us as we go through our difficult or uncomfortable situations. Just as the little boy’s haircut was necessary for good grooming, some of the fires we go through are necessary for us to grow and develop in Christ.

In the passage above, Job was responding to his friend Eliphaz the Temanite, after Eliphaz attempted to determine why Job was suffering. Job knew he had done nothing wrong, but unlike the little boy in his father’s arms, Job did not see God and felt like he was on his own. Still, he was determined to go through whatever God needed to take him through. At the end of the story, Job gets an understanding of who God is, and the fact that He can do whatever He pleases, and nothing can thwart His plans. After Job had endured his trials, God restored him and poured out multiple blessings on him (Job 42).

The circle of our Father’s embrace is a very safe place for us to be. Like Job, we may have to walk through valleys we don’t understand, but it is important to know that even though the trying of our faith develops perseverance (James 1:3), our Father will never leave us on our own! 

Inventory/Introspection: Do I allow my Father to hold and comfort me in the difficult times?  

Personal Application:   I will trust God, even when I cannot see what lies ahead.

Father, we are thankful that Your hand extends to the farthest depths and the highest heights, and that it doesn’t matter where we go, we are never so far that Your love and grace cannot reach us.

The little boy in the barber’s chair was able to go through the experience because his father’s arms were holding him. Those who witnessed what happened marveled at how the love and comforting words of a father brought peace to the troubled child. As Your children, we shout ‘Hallelujah!’, knowing that You care for us much more than anyone else ever could. Job felt abandoned, but he refused to give up on You. We know that some journeys in our lives are not what we desired, but like Job, we are certain that although we may not see You when we look around us, we know that we will come through “as pure gold” after You have finished testing us.

Teach us how to relax and allow You to embrace and comfort us as we encounter the unfamiliar.

We are thankful for the way You love and care for us. May we learn to love and care for others like You do..

Amen.

Blessings,
ann
Toni R
(c)
Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

May You Overflow With Hope!

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

This simple verse says much, and requires little commentary.  🙂

Uncertainties await us as we stand on the threshold of a new year. We can honestly say we have no idea what direction our lives will take, but we can say with equal certainty, that the God who spoke our world into existence, holds our lives in His hands.

May the trust you place in our God truly fill you with joy and peace to the point where you  overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit!

Personal Application:   My life and times are in God’s hands. I will trust Him to the point of overflowing with hope!

Father, our world has seen its share of turmoil this last year, and although much has taken us by surprise, we rest in the confidence that You are all-knowing and that You are still in control. We are thankful that Your grace and mercy kept us.

2013 may be a new year for all of us, but we know You already see the end of time as we know it. As we remain poised to step forward to new beginnings, we ask that You would order our steps, and that we would live lives that are pleasing in Your sight.

We pray for those who have lost loved ones in the past year. May You be our Comfort.

We pray for those experiencing financial difficulties. May we allow You to be our Source.

We pray for those in uncertain situations. May we trust You to be our Guide.

We pray for those experiencing sickness or ill-health. May we trust You to be our Healer

We are fully confident that times and seasons are in Your hands. We believe You are able to take care of any and all circumstances that we come across. We believe that Your name is above any sickness, pain, disease or situation that we may come across. May we trust You to make Your strength be seen in our situations.

We confess that You are all that we will ever need and so much more. May Your name be glorified in our lives as we move forward to this new year and whatever it brings. Yesterday is behind us, we will move forward in You!

Amen.

Israel Houghton – Moving Forward

Click here to watch on YouTube

Thanks again for your encouragement and support as I missed a few weeks to focus on school and family. May God return to you a hundredfold!

Blessings,
ann
Toni R
(c)
Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

May God bless you as you share His love with others this week.
I am sharing one of my favorites as I zone-in on completing my term papers. Thank you for your encouraging prayers and support!

Tonirand's Blog

1Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.3When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts…

View original post 678 more words

Remember The Sacrifice

23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 1 Corinthians 11: 17-34.

 As I write, our nation is taking time to remember those who gave their lives for our country. We are reflecting on how our lives are different because of the sacrifice they made. It is good to remember that we are where we are because someone died to give us freedom.

 When Jesus met with His disciples at the last supper, He used the bread and the cup as symbols of His sacrifice, and asked that we would “do this in remembrance of (Him).”  As I pondered these verses, I couldn’t help but wonder whether we are thinking of Him as we go about the thanksgiving and remembrance activities.

As Christians, we can look on this day of thanksgiving a little differently. We can choose to remember that life on earth may not go as smoothly as we hope, but we also remember that nothing compares to eternity in His presence. We can be sure  that even if we live in chains on this earth, our hearts will be free by His love and grace. Today we are thankful that our redemption has been won, and that the God we serve is able to speak things into being (Romans 4:17), and that there is nothing too hard for Him (Jeremiah 29:11). 

Wars bring freedom, but wars also bring death. As we say thank you for those whose lives were lost to allow us to live in physical freedom, we choose to give thanks  that Jesus not only died to give us freedom, but rose to seal our hope of everlasting life. 

Personal application: I will choose to remember that His grace covers me.

Father, we are truly blessed! Thank you for extending Your hands of love and mercy towards us, that even in our state of sinfulness, Jesus Christ died for our sins (Romans 5:8) . Today many of us give thanks for the human sacrifice for those who fought for our freedom. We are thankful for their service, but we ascribe all glory and honour to You in thanksgiving for the ultimate Sacrifice. Today we can choose to live in the freedom that comes through a right relationship with Jesus Christ. We choose to celebrate our Lord’s death and resurrection today and always.

Many of us wear an outward emblem to show our gratitude for those who have served us. May our spiritual attire and the fruit of our lips be a living testimony of the gratitude we have for the grace we have received from Your hands.

You are the everlasting God, and You alone are worthy of our praise. As we eat and drink today, whether at The Lord’s Table, or at our own tables, may we lift our hands, our hearts and our voices as we say thank You for the blood and body that bought our freedom. Thank You for loving us the way You do!

Amen.

 
Blessings,
ann
Toni R
(c)
Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Way Up Is Down

Hello Friends,  Pastor Maureen Chen has consented to sharing a piece as a guest this week as I try to keep up with the deadlines. I pray you will be blessed as you read.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Whether we want them or not, at some point or another we will be faced with difficult circumstances. We will be able to handle some of these circumstances on our own; others we will be able to call a family member or members for help; others we will be able to call our pastors or priest; others our prayer partners. However there are some situations that we will be faced with that will require us to go down so we can get up. 

What do I mean by the way up is down? Let’s take a look at Mark 14:32-36. … They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “Everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” 

Prior to our Lord and Savior’s crucifixion and ultimately His ascension into heaven, He had to go down.  He went down on His knees in prayer.  He really could have called ten thousand angels or even more, however He chose to submit to God’s ultimate plan for salvation.  Since the Son of God Himself had to go down before going up, let us use that as our example. Our circumstances will in no way compare to what Christ was about to face before He went down on His knees.  Remember, He took on the sins of the entire world; past, present and future.  Isaiah 53:3-4 gives us a clear picture of the anguish He experienced on that day. “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.” Funny thing is He didn’t deserve this.  He was without sin. Hebrews 4:15 tells us, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin”.  However because of His unconditional love, He paid a debt He did not owe.  He took our place and we find Him in that place called Gethsemane down on His knees praying.  This was Jesus Christ, the Holy One, praying.  He understood the power in knee ministry. He taught us that in order to be victorious, we must go down in order to get up.

In Exodus 15:25, we read that Moses cried out to God when he was faced with a bitter situation and immediately God gave him the answer.  What circumstances are you facing that you find yourself not being able to get out of? I highly recommend the example of Jesus Christ.  It is time to get down on your knees. Sometimes it is necessary to encourage ourselves. Sometimes, it is necessary to pray over ourselves as the song writer states. By getting into that humbling position on our knees we will receive the victory. 

The Father  wants to be with us on an intimate level. While He doesn’t mind hearing from our friends, our relatives, our prayer warriors, or our pastors on our behalf, He wants to hear from us on a personal one on one level.

The next time you are faced with a circumstance and there will be a next, remember Isaiah 43:2 states, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Not “if”, “when”. Therefore the next time, find a cushion and go down on your knees so you can go up.

A prayer: Father we thank You for the examples set forth in Your Word for us to live by. Father we thank You that we can come to You with all our circumstances. We thank You for hearing and answering and we are mindful to give You all the glory, all the honor and all the praise, in Jesus precious name.

Pastor Maureen Chen, Simple Words Ministry 

© Maureen Chen and Simple Word’s Ministry. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Maureen Chen and Simple Word’s Ministry with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

October 29 2012 – Delayed Post

Dear Friends

I cannot thank you enough for your patient understanding and faithful support. God bless you much!!

Due to pressing deadlines, I will be unable to prepare this week’s post on time, but hope to have it posted no later than Tuesday, at which time I will remove this note.

If I have not replied to your recent action on this blog, I crave your forgiveness. I will resolve this ASAP.

If you are in the path of the storm, do keep safe, and may Psalm 91 bring your much comfort.

Blessings to you and yours. 

ann

 

Psalm 91 (King James Version)

 
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
 
I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

Did You See That!?

14. Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there, she began to sob.

God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.  Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”

Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.

God was with the boy as he grew up… Genesis 21:14-20

Genesis 21:14 picks up the story where Hagar and her son had been sent from the home of Abraham and Sarah.  Finding herself alone in a desert, with no water in sight, and overcome with her circumstances, Hagar began to cry.  In the middle of her distress, God sent her a word of comfort and opened her eyes to the provision that He had made. There is nothing to suggest the well was not always there, but the scriptures clearly state that “God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water.” Maybe Hagar was so zoned in on what wasn’t going right, that she did not notice the well. When we are faced with insurmountable problems, we sometimes get so locked into what we are up against, that we forget that “greater is He that is in us, than He that is in the world!” (1 John 4:4)

Abraham had given Hagar a skin of water … that was enough to keep her for a while, but not enough to sustain her through the desert experience. That finite skin of water was enough to take her to the infinite Source of all she could need and more. Help may come from those around us, but only God can fully satisfy all our needs. It is important to recognize that He is the ultimate provider, and to trust Him even in the midst of our crisis situations.

Hagar likely felt helpless at what she was facing. She loved her son, no doubt, but she had done all she could do. Her response was to make him as comfortable as she could in the hot desert sun, as she walked away and left him there, fully expecting him to die.  Unknown to her, God had other plans, and right there in the middle of her circumstances, He opened her eyes! In the fullness of time, He caused her to see that He could take care of her needs.  We may not always see what God is doing, but that does not mean that He is not working on our behalf!

Sometimes we need to do something to bring miracles to life, as in the case of Naaman who had to go wash in the Jordan (2 Kings 5:1-19), or the blind-man who was healed when he went to wash his eyes (St John 9). Moses needed to throw his rod down (Exodus 4), and Jonah needed to be tossed overboard for the storm to subside (Jonah 1), but sometimes God allows us to just “stand still” and see what He is about.

In 2 Kings 6, Elisha asked God to open Gehazi’s eyes to what was around them. In St Luke 18: 35-42 the blind man called to Jesus and received his miracle of sight. Hagar did not have anyone to speak on her behalf, but in the midst of her tears, God chose to open her eyes. May our God open your eyes to what He has placed around you today.

Genesis 19:21 shows that God was with the boy as he grew up.  He was not left alone after the miracle. When God takes you out of  a ‘bad patch’, He does not leave you alone either. May you see with new vision that He is looking out for you, and that He has already taken care of what you need!

Inventory/Introspection: Are my eyes open to what He wants me to see?

Personal Application:   God can use the finite circumstances to show His infinite provision. “My circumstances do not change the fact that God is good.”

Father, Your faithfulness knows no end! We are thankful for the way You send Your word in perfect timing, even when we feel we can’t even look at our circumstances any more.

Your word says that You call the stars by name (Psalm 147:4) , You number the hair on our head, (Luke 12:7)  and that You saw us before we were formed (Psalm 139:16). We are grateful that even though we do not always see what You are doing, we find comfort in the fact that You are working it all out for our good to the glory of Your name!

For those of us who are facing impossible situations, we choose to give You thanks for the way of escape You have already prepared. For those of us who have crossed over, we give You all praise and glory for having taken us through what we could not handle on our own. For those of us yet to experience Your miracle working power in the midst of our distress, we thank You for sending the Word ahead so can know to rest on Your power and grace to help us over the hurdles.

Nothing about us escapes You! We are truly grateful! May we never forget that You are working on the things that concern us, even when we cannot see Your hand!

Amen.

Footnote: On Friday afternoon, my sister and I were discussing the importance of trusting God for the things we cannot see. On Friday night, this topic came up for discussion among members of our prayer group, and on Sunday at church, the sermon was along similar lines, as the preacher spoke on how God worked miracles with what Moses had in his hands. Hearing this three times in one weekend was enough to convince me to share in today’s blog. I am praying this will encourage your heart.
 
Blessings,
ann
Toni R
(c)
Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Significant Me!

“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice. St John 10:1-5

Some years ago, we went to the airport to pick up a visitor to our home. As he exited the terminal, we shouted his name. Some young men decided who we did not know decided to have some harmless fun, and they started shouting the name of our visitor as well. Naturally, he became somewhat confused as he looked around trying to find out where to go. He knew his name quite well, but the voices that called to him were foreign and unknown. Thankfully, Jesus does not get thrown off this way at all.

In St. John 10, Jesus was speaking with the Pharisees about who He is, and how He is able to care for those who are His. He uses the picture of a shepherd gathering His sheep, and highlights the fact that His sheep will run from  other shepherds.  He also speaks of thieves and robbers who will attempt to get at His sheep., but reinforces in verse 27 that His sheep know His voice, will listen to His voice and will follow Him.   Isaiah 43:1 underscores the face that we are redeemed and called by His name – We are His! Let us look at some examples of what can happen when we listen and respond to His call.

  • In St. Mark 5, Jesus was on His way to meet Jairus’ daughter, when He was ‘side-tracked’ by a woman experiencing hemorrhaging. Initially, she did not speak to Him, and did not call out His name, but when she touched Him, He stopped and acknowledged her when she came forward. He could have continued walking since He knew full well who had touched her and why, but He chose to call her out and speak healing to her in the crowd. She heard His voice and responded, and her life was changed forever. (Mark 5: 21-34)
  • Jesus eventually made His way to Jairus’ house, where He found the child ‘asleep’. The crowd at Jairus’ house did not understand His mission, and they ridiculed and laughed. “…After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Immediately the girl stood up and began to walk around ….” ( v 35-43). This child had likely never heard His voice before, but in that moment, a connection was made, and her spirit responded to The Life. His voice made the difference in her circumstance. He called out to her; she heard His voice and experienced new life.
  • A three-way conversation took place close to the end of Jesus’ physical life on earth.  On the cross, a thief dying the death he deserved, rebuked his unbelieving counterpart and reached out to Jesus. He received hope and a promise that day, but unfortunately, the other thief didn’t come to the point where He understood the difference Jesus could make in his circumstances.  They both heard His voice, but only one chose eternal life. (St Luke 23:26-43)
  • At Jacob’s well, Jesus took the time to approach a woman many rejected. According to verse 8, “His disciples had gone into the town to buy food”. As far as we know, there was no one else around, so she had the opportunity to share firsthand how He had made a difference in her life. To some, she was a ‘nobody’, but to Him, she was a life in need of healing. He called out to her, she heard his voice and responded, and her life was never the same again. (St John 4:1-42)

The Jesus in the Bible is the Jesus in our lives today. He has not changed! He stopped long enough to restore health to a bleeding woman, bring life to a dead child, bestow dignity to a woman scorned, and deliver peace to a man facing a hopeless future.   Our issues may range from the physical to the spiritual and everything in between, but because we are significant to Him, He makes Himself available. He may call to us in a crowd, or He may seek us out in our lonely moments; He may pull us into His inner circle, or He may speak His truth to us in the face of those who chose not to believe. We are not defined by what has happened in our past, or by how others view our former state. We know He is the Good Shepherd, and that we know His voice and He knows our name! When we choose to consider ourselves significant in His eyes, we will live as though we have experienced His life-changing truth.

Inventory/Introspection: Many voices call at me on a daily basis. How do I distinguish His voice from all that is around me?

Personal Application:  Jesus has redeemed me. He has called me by name. I am significant to Him!

Father, we are so grateful that we are not foreigners or strangers, and that You know us inside and outside!
May we be in a place where we will hear Jesus’ and respond to His calling, whether we are in a crow, in the‘inner circle’, in a ‘two or three’ setting, or on our own. Like the woman at the well, we are often trapped in how others define us. Like the woman with the bleeding, we sometimes feel pushed aside and ignored. Like Jairus’ daughter, our situations can become too much for us to handle. Like the thief on the cross, we may experience deliverance at the end of our rope. Whatever our circumstances, we are thankful that You never leave us alone, and that we know Your voice, and You know us by name!
I recognize that all I am is because of Your mercy and grace. I want to live a life that reflects  You. There is so much going on around me and so many voices that call to me daily, but I resolve to only heed Your voice. I am determined to experience Life as You intend it. Please grant me the desires of my heart to the glory of Your name.
Amen.
 
Blessings,
ann
Toni R
(c)
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