Tag Archives: Jesus

Learning to Live Alone

John 1:1 In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.  2 He existed in the beginning with God.  3 God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.  4 The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.  5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. [NLT]

It’s almost a month since my husband was killed.  I have been so blessed and comforted by my family.  They have buffered the reality of my loss with their presence.   They’ve flown in from around the country to help me navigate the unthinkable reality of death with the basics of life; food, activity and the practical and legal details that are now a part of my life.  What was previously “normal” activity has now become a reminder of being alone but they have been the hands-on proof of God’s assurance that is not the case.  One by one they’ve returned to their own homes and this week I finally have to face learning to live alone in mine.

It’s scary because I’ve realized I have never actually lived “alone” before.  I moved from my parents home to my marital home nearly 63 years ago.  I chose this book of John to read and ponder in these next weeks because it was important to my husband and the book of John is where my life of faith began long ago.  I wasn’t physically alone then, but it was the place I first read the words that revealed Jesus gives life that spans all time, circumstances and relationships.  What was true then is still truth now. “The Word already existed…with God… The Word gave life to everything…and the darkness can never extinguish it.”  

Death Notice

Death Notice

At about 9 a.m. Friday, April 9, my beloved husband of 62 years, Conrad [Ken] Bedient was killed in a motorcycle accident.  At the end of those 62 years with tear filled eyes I can testify that instead of time diminishing our love, we understood the reality of our love more than ever before. I was still his bride.  He loved me with a love that allowed me to become the woman I am today.  Not even death can take that away. I can imagine him standing beside Jesus right now and urging Him to comfort me.  I believe that because that’s  how Ken lived his life of faith.

I am leaning harder on Jesus that I ever knew possible.  I’m trapped by the desperation to avoid any familiar routine because that seems like a denial that my world has caved in and yet sitting here in the midst of no familiar routine is just as bad. Even a simple thing like making the bed, alone, has reduced me to tears.  Every familiar part of life is going to be a reminder that I am now alone.   I just don’t know how to do life right now.

I find myself sitting with my eyes closed a lot, like I’m trying to shut out the world. I’m heartbroken and shaken to the core. I’m never far from tears and my body is shaking most of the time.  Those are the details of my need for your prayers.   Friends and our two daughters are here with me. Their presence is the one blessing that reminds me there is still constancy I can count on.   I am thankful for them.  Please pray for all of us who knew and loved Ken as we try to cope with this unthinkable loss of husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend.

Strength, Peace, Joy for Palm Sunday

John 21
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said,you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. Real life has provided me an opportunity to remember how wide the separation between what I believe and what my response to circumstances can be.  Today I feel like Peter, sputtering my assurances to justify my lack of strength, peace and joy even at the same time I’m convinced of my own repentance.  It’s a mystery isn’t it? 

Even a life of faith and absolute commitment has moments when facing your own brokenness is a harsh reality.  I’ve read these verses countless times before but today Peter’s attempt to reassure Jesus of his love has become more real because it seems like mine too. “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”  

Simon Peter knew the harsh reality of his brokenness. The intensity of his words is almost tangible as he responds to Jesus taking him through that progression of the same question over and over; “do you love me?”  Jesus could just as easily have said “I forgive you.”  Peter would have expected that forgiveness, and been comforted…but Jesus had something more to give Peter during that early morning confrontation of vows and responses.  There was one thing that would ultimately forgive Peter’s lack of strength, comfort his loss of peace and restore his joy too.

Jesus’s gave Peter His trust!
…knowing Peter would complete his vows of love and
 “feed my lambs…take care of my sheep…feed my sheep.”

Psalm 119:169-176 Taw – Mark, Sign, Signal, Truth

Psalm 119 Taw
169 May my cry come before you, Lord; give me understanding according to your word.
170 May my supplication come before you; deliver me according to your promise.
171 May my lips overflow with praise, for you teach me your decrees.
172 May my tongue sing of your word, for all your commands are righteous.
173 May your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts.
174 I long for your salvation,Lord, and your law gives me delight.
175 Let me live that I may praise you, and may your laws sustain me.
176 I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands.
                                                          >§§§>
These twenty two sections of Psalm 119 and their relationship to the Hebrew letter the Psalmist chose to “mark” each of them have challenged my thinking from mid November through Advent, Christmas and into this new year, 2021.  Transposing sentences has been a way to pay homage to the Hebrew method of reading Right to Left.  These last eight “right to left” verses were organized with that in mind but with a twist; writing all the right phrases, one after another, and then stringing all the left phrases together after them.  My intent is for them to be read as a whole that gives these important old words a new expression and then consider why the Psalmist marked them with last letter of the Hebrew Aleph-bet, “Taw.” 

The image of the ancient letter, Taw, was used like a signature mark to verify the truth of what was said.  Taw is pictured by two sticks crossed but I don’t see two sticks.  I see a cross!   It’s amazing to consider the Psalmist purposefully chose a mark all those centuries ago to verify the truth of his words and become a recognizable sign of the cross, chosen by God, to verify our future.  Read on please…
                          – Psalm 119:169-176 All Right then All Left –
Give me understanding according to your word. Deliver me according to your promise, for you teach me your decrees.   All your commands are righteous for I have chosen your precepts. Your law gives me delight and may your laws sustain me.  Seek your servant for I have not forgotten your commands.  May my cry come before you, Lord; may my supplication come before you.  May my lips overflow with praise; may my tongue sing of your word.  May your hand be ready to help me.  I long for your salvation, Lord. Let me live that I may praise you.  I have strayed like a lost sheep.
                                                 –––∞ My Thoughts ∞–––
Jesus IS the  Word!  That’s the understanding of God we need.  God’s promise to us lives in Jesus Christ; the way, the truth and the life.  Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s precepts, laws and commands and He will remove the condemnation of those same laws from those who place their life in Him.  Jesus has completed everything God required to sustain us.  He is our reminder that the truth we now have can hold us firmly while our lips learn to overflow with praise and our tongues find words to sing the song of salvation for lost sheep; being crucified with Christ.  I long for your salvation, Lord. Let me live that I may praise You, glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

Psalm 119:113-120 Samekh – Prop, Support

Psalm 119
113 I hate double-minded people, but I love your law.
114 You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.
115 Away from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commands of my God!
116 Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed.
117 Uphold me, and I will be delivered; I will always have regard for your decrees.
118 You reject all who stray from your decrees, for their delusions come to nothing.
119 All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross; therefore I love your statutes.
120 My flesh trembles in fear of you; I stand in awe of your laws.

Right >§§§> Left

I love your law but I hate double-minded people.  I have put my hope in your word; you are my refuge and my shield.  May the commands of my God keep me away from you evildoers.  According to your promise, I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed.  Sustain me, my God. I will always have regard for your decrees.  Uphold me and I will be delivered.  Their delusions come to nothing.  You reject all who stray from your decrees.  I love your statutes, all the wicked of the earth you discard like dross.  I stand in awe of your laws, my flesh trembles in fear of you.

–––∞∞∞–––

Props and supports are for the crippled.  Sometimes things have been broken so badly only medical traction can help. “Medical traction is the use of a pulling force to treat muscle and skeleton disorders. Traction is usually applied to the arms and legs, the neck, the backbone, or the pelvis. It is used to treat fractures, dislocations, and long-duration muscle spasms, and to prevent or correct deformities.”

This prayer the Psalmist wrote centuries ago sounds way too familiar to the reality of life at this moment doesn’t it?  I’m looking for the “ס Samekh” he’s revealed that can support and prop us up against double-minded people, evildoers, dashed hopes, delusions and the wicked of the earth…today.  Right now our nation is badly crippled by political violence, racial unrest and a pandemic raging around the world.  In one small word, “ס Samekh,” the revelation of God has shown the Psalmist the law is more than a pair of crutches or a wheelchair.  God’s law is spiritual traction for a broken body.  

The Psalmist has told us the love of God’s law is a force that can pull the muscle of the heart back into order.  He’s recorded what God taught him through the law.  God is a refuge and shield that can correct the skeletal disorders of a body fractured, dislocated and having spasms that will surely lead to permanent deformity.  We are a body in need of spiritual traction.

God’s law is the spiritual traction necessary to sustain us and yet we are unable to set it up for ourself.  Jesus is the “promise” of God [v116] and the fulfillment of His law.   He is God’s “ס Samekh” that will provide the spiritual traction God has prescribed for the complete healing of His body in the midst of double-minded people, evildoers, dashed hopes, delusions and the wicked of the earth.  Amen

God Was THERE!

Ephesians 5:8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. [NIV]

>§§§>

I’ve mentioned before that words spark thought for me.  Today was an interesting variation on that.  I read verse eight several times before I realized I’d been subconsciously adding the word [IN] before the word “darkness.” Dropping the [IN] and reading “you were once darkness” changed my whole perspective on what I’d read.  It has reminded me this Word is not only timeless but it’s still alive and well. Darkness is not a place I was “IN”  but the far more ugly reality of “what I was.”  It says it right there but I missed it.

I re-read those verses thankful for the specific words of hope I found there, words like “now you are light in the Lord” and “the fruit of the light.”  The emphasis on “WHAT I was” [darkness] has now been dramatically changed because of God’s intervention through Jesus in my life to “what I WAS [past tense].  “Once darkness” was changed to “the fruit of the light” and that is the joyful connection to Advent I share with you in December, 2020.

That first “Advent” in Bethlehem was God’s intervention in the world He’d created.  His choice was to make Himself visible once more to redeem His people and free them from their dependence on their own best efforts to dispel the darkness that plagued their lives.  Jesus was born to reveal God’s promise to ordinary people who were “once darkness.”  The “Advent of Light” could forever change their emphasis from knowing “there was GOD” [hope] into the new reality that “God was THERE!”

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Psalm 119:25-32 – ד Daleth – Door

Psalm 119:25-32
25 My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!
26 When I told of my ways, you answered me; teach me your statutes!
27 Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works.
28 My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word!
29 Put false ways far from me and graciously teach me your law!
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I set your rules before me.
31 I cling to your testimonies, O Lord; let me not be put to shame!
32 I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!

>§§§>

God’s Word has survived all these centuries because it’s more than information. Psalm 119, Daleth – Door is truth beyond time, translation, and even survives reading these eight verses right to left.  My hope is that after you’ve read the eight verses above as copied from the English Standard Version you’ll read my right to left versions with the “Door”  in mind.  Daleth is the Old Testament Word of God that opens the “Door” to our communication with Him through our relationship to Jesus.  “Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.”  

O Lord,
25 Give me life according to your word, dust clings to my soul
26 You answered me with your statutes to teach me your ways when I told of my ways
27 I will meditate on your wondrous works to make me understand the way of your precepts
28 Your word strengthens me when my soul melts away for sorrow
29 Graciously teach me your law and put false ways far away from from me
30 Your rules set before me are the way of faithfulness I have chosen
|31 Let me not be put to shame O Lord, I cling to your testimonies
32 Enlarge my heart so I will run in the way of your commandments

Click here to read a previous post about ד Daleth – Door

The Third Chapter – Mark

3:1 Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. 2 And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. 3 And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” 4 And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. 5 And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.  

>§§§>

This story seems odd to me.  Why was the man with the withered hand there on the Sabbath?   Had he just gone to the synagogue because it was the expected thing to attend?  Did he know Jesus would be there?  Did he want to hear what Jesus had to say?   Did he hope for healing?  He must have known of the hostility the silent group of Pharisees had toward Jesus.  He cetrtainly knew that healing on that day would be breaking the law even before he heard Jesus say “stretch out your hand” 
– Lesson 1: It takes faith to even consider there might be answers to your questions but from that faith comes the courage it takes to be willing to reach out to Jesus when you hear him speak.

Healing may have happened in a miraculous moment but the destruction of Jesus required a plan, and thankfully for us, even evil plans require time.  The Pharisees chose to leave the synagogue determined to use their spiritual power along with the political power of the Herodians to destroy Jesus…but God had a different plan so Jesus could continue his ministry
– Lesson 2: God can,and will, even use evil men and the time they spend planning destruction.   Jesus has the power of God that redeems men and their misspent time.  Through Jesus, evil will be overcome with good that accomplishes God’s plan for a future and a hope for us.

Response of the Heart

ESV Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

NLT Eph 2:8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

>§§§>

Take a minute and think of how many times you’ve heard yourself say “I should.” We are by nature a people of “shoulds,” even when it comes to our faith. Should’s are like the underbelly of human response compared to God’s Grace. Grace is “the gift of God.”  That gift is the foundation of His heart that validates every aspect of our faith.  “And you can’t take credit for this;”…your repentance, your transformation, your growth, your study, your wisdom, your knowledge and understanding of your relationship to God and it’s impact on your human relationships and behavior.  

Only by fully accepting how powerful Grace is in our life can we come to realize there is nothing in that list that is dependent on our “should’s.”   Grace is responsible for our repentance, our transformation, our growth, our study, our wisdom, our knowledge and understanding of our relationship to God and it’s impact on our human relationships and behavior.

This is the Word of God: “We are God’s masterpiece.”   He has “created us anew in Christ Jesus.”  Jesus is the Piece of the Master created within us to change our human nature from “should’s” to our response of the heart “so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” 

Live Your Inheritance!

NASB Eph 1:18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 

NLT Eph 1:18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.

Verse 18 from both the New American Standard Bible and the New Living Translations have become the foundation of this post.  The words are slightly different but the questions are the same.  They reminded me that the “glorious inheritance” is a real part of our daily lives, and so much more than a reward at the end of it.  

  • What is God’s purpose in opening the eyes of our heart?
  • What is the hope to which he has called us?
  • What is the glorious inheritance? 

Visual, written and spoken information bombards our senses but not everything makes it past the defenses life teaches us to build to protect our heart.  The gift of hope is God’s purpose that has made His Word endure for centuries. Hope that penetrates the defenses of the heart to see beyond itself into God’s own heart with the confidence to ask: whose inheritance? Ours or His?

Ours!  That dear friend is only a part of the much bigger answer.  God’s inheritance has been given to enable us to live beyond our imperfections in this world while waiting for the perfection promised in the next. God has already invested everything of Himself in us to provide us with “the riches of the glory of His inheritance IN the saints…

His!  “The confident hope he has given to those he called” has revealed the complete answer from God’s own heart through Jesus so we might live everyday as “his holy people who are HIS rich and glorious inheritance.”

Live your inheritance!