submission of the soul, “when God requires action, sanctity is to be found in activity”


The beauty of the images moves me to contemplation,
as a meadow delights the eyes and subtly infuses the soul
with the glory of God.

St. John Damascene

(Gulf fritillary/ Julie Cook / 2021)

Gulf fritillary / Julie Cook / 2021)

(Gulf fritillary / Julie Cook / 2021)

Submission of the soul.

For many of us, the notion of submission comes with great difficulty.
Submission is equated with the notion of weakness.
A giving up and giving in.

And yet we cling viciously to the visage of ego…that false image we hold high
and large against the humility of heart…a tenuous balance is struck.

We let that false visage block oh so many possibilities.
Hitting wall after wall, we wonder how much longer will we struggle.
So much heartache ensues because of that false visage of hubris.

Self inflicted wounds.

God is not one to be quiet when He knows…

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The Burden 9 (Odisha, India Update)

Faith & Self Defense

Your prayers and gifts are making a big difference for persecuted Christians in Odisha, India!

As we’ve reported in previous posts, several families are living in the jungle because of severe persecution from Hindus in their village. We included a link to a specialGoFundMe pagethat has been set up to help those who have lost their homes and many of you have responded. We are almost one-third of the way toward the goal to help these brothers and sisters.

Members of the HopeGiving Foundation traveled to the jungle to bring encouragement and more supplies. Here is the email they sent us about their visit.

Dear friends,

As we know all have been praying for our brothers and sisters who are being persecuted for identifying themselves with Christ in Odisha. Yesterday we were asked to visit them, so the five of us went with our second relief by…

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Manipulative and Controlling

Run With It

There is something called “gaslighting” which is a manipulative and controlling technique used by master liars and manipulators in order to get preconceived results out of other people. And there are many such master con artists out there who use such techniques to manipulate and to control others, usually without their knowledge.

They first create scenes by putting on a false persona or by setting up a false situation in order to get a desired result which then they can use against the other person. So, they will fake a challenge or a conflict or they may even fake a confession in order to get the other person to respond in a particular way which they intend to use against the other person.

There is something they want, some kind of compliance, or they want to make the other person look bad to others, or they want to accuse the…

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What does it mean to follow Jesus?

Grace for my Heart

It’s Monday Grace!

I have to tell you how much I love to answer this question! To follow Jesus is the definition of the Christian life. It is the whole work of the Christian. It is the joy of our relationship with Him.

Several years ago I had a man tell me that the message of grace was dangerous. He said, as so many have, that people will hear about the love of God and just go out to sin more. Then, before I could answer, he said:

“Oh, I know, you’ll just say to follow Jesus. But I tell you that people who just follow Jesus are going to be led right into sin!”

Yes, that’s as close to a direct quote as I can remember, and the exchange is still burned into my memory. It seemed very strange at the time and, frankly, it still seems like a…

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Daily Wisdom (Sep 27)


The lips of the righteous know what is fitting, but the mouth of the wicked only what is perverse.

Proverbs 10:32

How many times have you said just the “wrong” thing? For me, it is more often than I would like to recall. Jesus words on this topic are indeed convicting to me: “Out of the abundance of the heart does the mouth speak.” In other words, poor words and bad timing in our speech are more issues of our heart than issues of social skills and decorum. Let’s ask God to purify, mend, and re-focus our heart on his will and passions.My Prayer…Almighty God, loving and merciful Father, please purify my heart of all evil, hate, duplicity, prejudice, malice, lust and greed. By the powerful name of Jesus, please drive away any evil power or enticing tempation that would corrupt my heart and wound my soul. Fill my heart…

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Raising hands to our God on high, with head bowed in submission,
Tears flow fast as our eyes do cry, repentance and petition,
The words seem empty as we pray, but God will send His Spirit,
He knows exactly what we say, so God will surely hear it,
We lay our prayers at Jesus’ feet, we know that He’ll stand for us,
Our every need we pray He’ll meet, He never will ignore us,

When troubles linger in our mind, all things seem problematic,
For Satan always tries to find, the glitzy and dramatic,
To tempt and draw us far from God, we don’t see through his lies,
We follow down a road less trod, we decide to compromise,
God’s given freedom from our pain, it isn’t complicated,
He died for us and rose again, His love He demonstrated,

And when our final day…

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Mark 10.1-16 Translations and Notes (RCL19th Sunday after Pentecost Year B ) — Biblical Studies and Technological Tools

View of Bethany beyond the Jordan looking east from Jordan. Jordan river and traditional site of Jesus’ baptism in green area in center of picture. Judea in the distance beyond it. This is setting of as described in Mark 10.1.The designated text in the RCL for 19th Sunday after Pentecost (3 October in 2021) is…

Mark 10.1-16 Translations and Notes (RCL19th Sunday after Pentecost Year B ) — Biblical Studies and Technological Tools

Difference Between Mercy and Grace

The Christian Tech-Nerd

Mercy and grace are the utmost attributes of love. The essence of the Bible is loving God and loving people through the lens of Jesus Christ. Two grand works of God have displayed His all-powerful, gracious, and merciful nature: creation and redemption.

While God’s work of creation demonstrated His mighty power, God’s work of redemption revealed His marvelous love, shown through His mercy and grace. This very love of God is indispensable for the existence of life and the salvation of humanity.

“The Lord is gracious and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.” (Psalm 145:8-9)

Grace and Mercy: Definitions and Differences:

The Greek word used for mercy is most often eleos (pity, compassion) and for grace is charis(favor). Mercy and grace, as paraphrased from Willmington’s Guide to the Bible, can be…

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Lexham Discourse Greek N.T. Matt. 12:9-14 with Translation & Commentary

Matthew 12:9–14 (LDGNT)

9Καὶ μεταβὰς ἐκεῖθεν ἦλθεν εἰς τὴν συναγωγὴν αὐτῶν

10καὶ ἰδοὺ ἄνθρωπος χεῖρα ἔχων ξηράν καὶ ἐπηρώτησαν αὐτὸν λέγοντες Εἰ ἔξεστιν τοῖς σάββασιν θεραπεῦσαι ἵνα κατηγορήσωσιν αὐτοῦ

11ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Τίς ἔσται ἐξ ὑμῶν ἄνθρωπος ὃς ἕξει πρόβατον ἓν καὶ ἐὰν ἐμπέσῃ τοῦτο τοῖς σάββασιν εἰς βόθυνον οὐχὶ κρατήσει αὐτὸ καὶ ἐγερεῖ

12πόσῳ οὖν διαφέρει ἄνθρωπος προβάτου ὥστε ἔξεστιν τοῖς σάββασιν καλῶς ποιεῖν

13τότε λέγει τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ Ἔκτεινόν σου τὴν χεῖρα καὶ ἐξέτεινεν καὶ ἀπεκατεστάθη ὑγιὴς ὡς ἡ ἄλλη

14ἐξελθόντες δὲ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι συμβούλιον ἔλαβον κατʼ αὐτοῦ ὅπως αὐτὸν ἀπολέσωσιν

Lexham English Bible

Matthew 12:9–14 (LEB)

9And going on from there he came into their synagogue.

10And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand, and they asked him, saying, “Is it permitted to heal on the Sabbath?” in order that they could accuse him.

11But he said to them, “What man will there be among you who will have one sheep and if this one fell into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out?

12Then to what degree is a man worth more than a sheep? So then, it is permitted to do good on the Sabbath.”

13Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand,” and he stretched it out, and it was restored as healthy as the other one.

14But the Pharisees went out and plotted against him in order that they could destroy him.

Lexham Context Commentary

Controversy Over Sabbath Healing (12:9–14)

This paragraph follows the last in narrating a controversy over the Sabbath between Jesus and the Pharisees. The desire to condemn Jesus is clearly stated, as they ask Jesus whether it is permitted to heal on the Sabbath. Jesus responds by pointing to the worthiness of someone to be healed, and doing something good is thus permitted. Jesus then heals the man with the withered hand. At this point in the narrative the Pharisees are now purposefully seeking to destroy Jesus.

12:9 The evangelist indicates a sequence from the previous episode to this one, although no passage of time is indicated. Jesus enters a local synagogue that is governed by the Pharisees who questioned him in the previous passage.

12:10 The attention-getter “behold” draws attention to the man who has a withered hand. Unlike some previous healings, this man is not in an emergency situation. The Pharisees wish to find grounds for accusation against Jesus and so ask whether it is permitted to heal on the Sabbath.

12:11 In response to the Pharisees’ question in the previous verse, Jesus offers the analogy of a sheep falling into a pit on the Sabbath. In that scenario, it is reasonable for a man to lift the sheep out, even on the Sabbath.

12:12 From the analogy of the previous verse, Jesus reminds them of the value of human beings over sheep (6:26; 10:31). From this Jesus derives the principle that it is permitted to do good on the Sabbath.

12:13 To emphasize his teaching from the previous verses, Jesus tells the man to stretch out his hand. The man does so, and his formerly withered hand has been completely restored.

12:14 The disapproval of the Pharisees has been building up to this point (9:11, 34; 12:1–8). Now, rather than praising God for the act of healing, the Pharisees depart the synagogue and plot together to destroy Jesus.

Mangum, D. (Ed.). (2020). Lexham Context Commentary: New Testament (Mt 12:9–14). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.