Wednesday, April 7, 2021

The Promises To Covenant Israel

"So imagine my delight when I was led recently to a new insight. With the help of two Hebrew scholars, I learned that one of the Hebraic meanings of the word Israel is “let God prevail.” Thus the very name of Israel refers to a person who is willing to let God prevail in his or her life. That concept stirs my soul!"

President Russel M. Nelson, Oct. 2020 General Conference


With that phrase I started a six month study of the promises to covenant Israel. What did I learn?

First of all I realized that my understanding of the Abrahamic  covenant was very superficial. I was satisfied with talking about the four key promises that I had remembered from my gospel learning. If Israel would let Jehovah be their God, He would bless them with posterity, property, priesthood, and purpose.

Oh my, this study helped me see that I had limited God so much by defining his promises into a formula.





                             "And what is the Lord willing to do for Israel? 


As you study your scriptures during the next six months, I encourage you to make a list of all that the Lord has promised He will do for covenant Israel. I think you will be astounded! Ponder these promises. Talk about them with your family and friends. Then live and watch for these promises to be fulfilled in your own life." 

President Russel M. Nelson


The illuminated manuscript above made by Eva Timothy is an illustration some of  the promises made to Israel. The promises are powerful, strengthening, encompassing, intimate, and gut- wrenchingly beautiful




       A God who Provides, Promises, and Prevails



Throughout all the standard works he assures, gives evidence, and invites us to act with faith on these promises.



                                      "I have heard thy prayer."

 

My prayer throughout the last six months has been to understand better, to hear more, to see more.


Before I start another six month study, this time on increasing faith, I wanted to record how much more I see God's love. I have gathered in all his love language and wish to speak it more fluently.


"Let God Prevail In Your Life."



Sunday, April 4, 2021

He Is Risen

"He is risen, He is risen, tell it out with loud acclaim"


I think today of the sleepless night Mary must have had, grief and sorrow forcing her out early to the tomb. He came to her out of love, f to bind up her broken heart.

"Go to my brethren and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God and your God."


As the sun comes up this morning I am aware of the miracle of resurrection. I may not understand it but I am fully confident that it is so for all men. Of greatest comfort is that it is so for those I love who have died before me, and that it will be so, for me.


"Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?"


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Saturday, April 3, 2021

Waiting On The Lord

C.S. Lewis expressed the sadness of the time after the death of the Aslan, who is symbolic of the Savior, so eloquently in The Witch, The Lion and The Wardrobe".. 


"I hope no one who reads this book has been quite as miserable as Susan and Lucy were that night; but if you have been - if you've been up all night and cried till you have no more tears left in you - you will know that there comes in the end a sort of quietness. You feel as if nothing is ever going to happen again..."




Psalms 27:13
 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

Those who loved him endured an awful waiting. Waiting is a mortal experience. Uncertainty washes over us and our unruly minds go wild with the "what if's". What if this is the end of the teachings of Jesus. What if the Jewish authorities come after all the new Christians? What if the Romans come after them? How will we live without the comfort of Jesus? What if?

What if........it is true?

What if tomorrow he rises from the dead?

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Friday, April 2, 2021

Good Friday

The Last Week In the Life of Jesus Christ

"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."



Have you wondered why Christians call this day Good Friday? What is good about this day in the life of the Savior?

Jesus uttered seven statements from the cross upon which he was crucified..
  1. "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
  2. To the man on the cross next to him he said, "Verily I say unto thee, to day shalt thou be with me in paradise."
  3. Looking down from the cross he said to his mother, "Woman, behold thy son!' Then he said to John, "Behold thy mother."
  4. In the ninth hour Jesus cried, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
  5. Then he said, "I thirst." President Russel M. Nelson said, "To a doctor of medicine, this is a very meaningful expression. Doctors know that when a patient goes into shock because of blood loss, invariably that patient – if still conscious – with parched and shriveled lips – cries for water.” 
  6. After receiving vinegar for his thirst he said, "It is finished."
  7. Darkness was over all the earth and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. He then cried with a loud voice, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit."

        How can we say this sacrifice was good?





Is it good that he took my sins, my failings, and my misfortune onto himself? I would deny him as my Savior if I said no. It was the focus of his whole life. To bring me, with him back to my loving Heavenly Father and heavenly Mother.




I wince at seeing his suffering. Yet, I rejoice that he willingly submitted  for my sake. 




"Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary, the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene."

To all the Marys who gave him so much comfort. Take heart. 
For myself I also say, take heart. 

There will be Sunday. 
And he will yet live again.

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Thursday, April 1, 2021

Easter Week- The Longest, Hardest Day

 The Last Week in the Life of Jesus

"During the first of the days of unleavened bread, which was on Thursday, some of the Twelve inquired of Jesus where they should make preparations for the paschal meal."

While reading the story of Passover, going into the Garden of Gethsemane, and the betrayal of Jesus into the hands of the Jewish authorities, I marvel at the emotional connection Jesus had in the midst of anxiety ridden events. As I am learning more of wholeheartedness and integrating emotions into our very identity, I look at Jesus as the model of all I desire in wholehearted living. I'll be using some definitions of emotion to make my points. 




Anxiety- Uncertainty, overwhelming fear, competing demands on our time, or social discomfort.

For Jesus there was an awful certainty about what would transpire and I believe a God who can know us completely would be required to feel all the emotions of mortality. I believe he felt fear and anxiety but was fully anchored in his sense of belonging and connection to His Father. His resilience was divine.



Resentment- An emotion we experience when we fail to set boundaries, when boundaries are ignored, or when expectations let us down because they were based on things we can't control, like what others think, what they feel, or how they react.


Surely he felt some resentment towards others who responded awkwardly and deceptively to him, not fully understanding all that he was offering in this life and in the next. Yet, he gave patience and love.




To me he fully exemplifies a wholehearted self. His thinking, feeling, and doing were fully integrated.











Heartbreak- More than just a particularly hard form of disappointment or failure. It hurts in an entirely different way because heartbreak is always connected to love and belonging.

I hurt for him because he hurt for me, fully submitting to carry my pain, my suffering, my lack, my evil, and my plain misfortune. In a desire for me to belong to him and in his desire to be connected to his Father, he knelt in Gethsemane and paid the awful price for justice to be served.



What an astounding day this was for him and for us all. And Friday will come next.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Easter Week- A Day To Withdraw

The Last Week In the Life Of Christ

"But now it is Wednesday and tomorrow is the day for the slaying of the thousands of Paschal lambs. Today is a day devoted to his intimate friends."


Jesus passed this day of rest and retirement with his disciples. How could they not know that the end of a perfect ministry was coming? He had proclaimed it 12 times in the the previous years.


  1. At the first Passover, three years before. "Destroy this temple and after three days I will raise it up. (John 2)
  2. To Nicodemus he said, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up. (John 3)
  3. To the disciples of John he said, "The days will come when the bridegroom shall be taken from them ." (Matt. 9) 
  4. To the sign seeking scribes and Pharisees he said, "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (Matt. 12)
  5. To the Twelve he said, "And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me." (Matt 10)
  6. In the Sermon on the bread of life he said, "And the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I give for the life of the world." (John 6)
  7. After Peter's stirring testimony it is written, "From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day." (Matt. 16)
  8. On the Mount of Transfiguration he discussed his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. (Luke 9)
  9. Coming down from the mount he said, "The Son of Man shall be betrayed unto the hands of men; And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again." (Matt, 17)
  10. En route to Jerusalem he said, "They shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him; and the third day he shall rise again." (Matt. 20)
  11. In the teachings of the Good Shepard he said, "I am the good shepherd; and the good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep.." (John 10)
  12. In the parable of the wicked husbandmen he said. "This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize his inheritance." (Matt. 21)
Will be be equally surprised at his Second Coming?

On this day alone with them he taught them all of his coming ordeal and what would result therefrom. 


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Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Easter Week- His Last Public Discourse At The Temple

The Last Week In The Life Of Jesus 

"On the following day, that is on Tuesday, He returned to the temple with the Twelve, teaching all who would listen."


The chief priests and some of the scribes came upon him as a group. They asked him by what authority did he do his works. Of course they knew the authority he claimed; but their question was of a sinister purpose. Jesus chose to answer their question with a question. Was the baptism of John from heaven or of men? Since the crowd of people listening would be swayed by what the authorities would say and do, they were forced into silence. "We cannot tell."



Jesus continued to teach those that gathered, parable upon parable, story upon story, all pointing to the self-betrayal of the chief authorities. The Parable of The Two Sons showed how true repentance was more effectual than lip service. 

Matthew 21:32 

For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.


The Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen pointed to the deceit of them that killed the son of the householder and stole his inheritance. 

Matthew 21:38 

But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.

 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.


Truly. how could they not get his message? Then he told the Parable of the Royal Marriage Feast. The guests refused to come and spurned their royal invitation only to be destroyed for their lack of loyalty.

Matthew 22:7-9 


 But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.

 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.

 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.


 If this story was to be an allegorical presentation of true events, then it passes into the future as the destruction of Jerusalem post dated Jesus by several decades.


This Parable was the last spoken by our Lord to the public. Jesus would now turn his attention on his apostles who he would instruct and support in the coming days.

"Many are called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world,..."

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