Let them listen attentively.
Thus says Yahweh, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
I, Yahweh, your God, teach you what is good for you.
I lead you in the way that you must go.
If only you had been alert to my commandments,
your happiness would have been like a river,
your integrity like waves of the sea.
Your children would have been numbered like grains of sand,
your descendants as many as its grains.
Never would your name have been cut off or blotted out before me.
This seem a strange verse for a Christmas message but Isaiah is the Prophet that chastised the Hebrews and promised them restoration. And this verse choice is to illustrate both. God (Yahweh) proclaims that He is their Redeemer, He is the Holy One of Israel. He is the One who will lead them in the way to go. But he warns the people if they continue to disobey, they are lost. The whole point is follow God, obey and allow yourself to be led by God’s Commandments. If you do so your happiness will flow like a river.
I know about rivers, they effect every thing they pass. As followers of God, we should effect everyone we touch. We are to cause things to grow. Faith in particular. Grace by association. Mercy in all things because God showed us mercy. If we do these thing instead of the ways of the world,we will grow in numbers beyond our imagination. For it was during the time of the greatest persecutions, under Rome and the Jews that the followers of Christ flourished. It was then that as the nations tried to stamp them out, they increased daily. There should be a joy in obeying God. He never intended the commandments to be “punishment” or restricting happiness. So it with great joy that Christ came into the world not to condemn it but to bring Salvation and with salvation there is immense joy.
So the message is simple, Enjoy God! Enjoy the freedom given by obedience. Enjoy the Commandment of God, the Holy One of Israel. This Christmas season as in every season, be joyful, be loving, be merciful. Do not wrap yourselves in sorrow, grief or despair. But reach up to the heavens and make joyful sounds Let you integrity be the sounding board of angels. And be numbered among the saints, those who are to be called holy and blameless. If we seek out the ways of the LORD, Yahweh, instead of trying to justify our sinful nature we will find that life is healthier, happier, more sane. If we reject the deals, the ideals and the desires of the flesh, power and wealth, we will find peace. Through the Word,through the commandments through the mercy of God, we endure hardships without struggle because we surrendered our self to the Will of God. And that is a happy thing.
We are quick to say “Blessing” but that very word means Happiness. So if we are to be Blessed by God,we are to be made happy by God and that is the Way of the Commandments, to make us happy. And in that, even under persecutions and trials, turmoil and threats, we prosper,we grow in numbers as grains of sand worn down from the rocks of Oppression by the River of Life.
Blessing (Happiness) this Christmas.
I wrote my Lenten Devotion last night for today and at first I saw it but then it disappeared.
” So then, dear friends, continue to do as I tell you, as you always have; not only as you did when I was there with you, but even more now that I am no longer there; and work for your salvation ‘in fear and trembling’. It is God, for His own loving purpose, who put both the will and the action into you. Do all that has to be done without complaining or arguing and then you will be innocent and genuine, perfect children of God among a deceitful and underhand brood, and you will shine in the world like bright stars because you are offering it the Word of Life.” Phil. 2:12-16a
Oh to be “Perfect Children of God”! to live in such union with Him. Yet this is what is promised even in the trials, persecutions, and conflicts caused by deceitful and underhanded people. Paul is talking about not so much the pagans but the leaders of Judean Church that wanted to make the Gentile believers legalistic. But we face similar conflicts today with the many different and some false, churches with different dogmas and disciplines. But what we search for is a simple Faith, a realistic one that is not filled with complexities. But it is hard. Even in the most devote among us, we find doubt and confusion. How are we to decide what more important? Through devout and honest prayer. By examining each and seeking what is valid rather than fluff. Just to walk and live in righteousness close to God and the Heart of Jesus.
Prayer of today: Dear Lord Jesus, clear my mind, teach me to focus only on You and Your Will. Don’t let me be wandering in a field of confusion. Open my eyes and my heart to only You as so I might be a bright Star unto the world. Amen
“Such is the richness of the Grace which He has showered us in all Wisdom and Insight. He has let us know the mystery of His Purpose, the hided plan He so kindly made in Christ from the Beginning to act upon when the times had run their course to the end: that He would bring everything together under Christ, as head, everything in the heavens and everything on Earth.” Eph. 1: 7b-10.
Everything in Heaven an don Earth brought together under Christ. This is something that Moses could not have imagined as he was called to bring the Israelites out of bondage. Yet this is the message of God, to bring everything together. No longer separated by race, or nationalities or by cultures but together under God one People. In our wanderings, away from the Grace of God, we are not a part of this Unity with God. But under Christ, we who were lost are found and made a people found with Grace. We are blessed, made happy in Christ and the Father. And it was the plan, the goal, the ideal of God even before creating man.
Wisdom and insight are ours through the Holy Spirit by grace given to us by Christ. We are blessed far beyond Moses, far beyond the prophets of Old because we are blessed by the Unity of Christ not only one to another, but with Heaven and all the Angels and Saints that are in the presence of God.
Pray with me today: LORD, hear this prayer, let us rejoice in the unity we have with Christ and with the angels that we are granted Your Wisdom and the Insight of Your Holy Spirit. Teach us this day to listen with our hearts intent to abide in Your Wisdom and Grace, to live holy as you teach us. Tech us to sacrifice ourselves to your Will and to walk purposely, not wandering aimlessly in the ways of the wilderness. In your Grace, hear this prayer.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. “Before the world was made, He chose us,chose us in Christ, to be holy and spotless, and to live through love in His presence.” (Eph. 1:4)
Lent is the time to put our unnatural nature of sin and regrets to death, permanently. It is the time to turn them into ashes, back into the dust from which they came. Because from the beginning, Christ chose us,from before creation, He chose us to be holy, spotless, dedicated to love. It is the time to stop wandering about in the world of desires, wantonness and disappointments and instead turn back home to God. As Moses wandered about in the land of his Step father, working the fields and tending the flocks, we are wandering about in the flesh, the ways of the world.
Are we hiding from the call of God? Are we fleeing judgement? are we tired and frightened by our weaknesses?
God called us from creation, we the wanderers, to love and to be holy. Mark your selves with the blood of Christ and turn from ashes. Blessed is He who comes to remove the sin, the regrets, the failings and calls us to be holy, as He is Holy. For the verses continue, “Determining that we should become HIS adopted sons, through Jesus Christ. for HIS own KIND purposes,to make us praise the Glory of HIS Grace, HIS free Gift to us in the Beloved, in whom, through His Blood, we gain freedom (from our wandering), the forgiveness of our Sins.”
Less us then stop the wandering, let us free ourselves from wantonness and regrets and fears but turn back to God and come Home to Christ Jesus.
Prayer for today: Bless us O Lord God, hear our cry in the wilderness. Bring us safely home to You and turn our ashes into Glory, our fears into rejoicing and our regrets into Grace. Amen
This is a new type of Lenten Devotion. Taking into account that it is a preparation for the Passover Feast and Resurrection, I want us to all think of Moses and his wandering after fleeing Egypt. and relate how we are “lost” with out Christ. That we are a people with out a home wanting to wander about in our inequities and homelessness. It is a time to reflect on the coming of Our Lord, our experiences with the “burning Bush of God’s Mercy. And the command to lead our people, His People out of the slavery of sin and the wantonness of our failure to serve His Mighty Love.
Lent is a time to “Come back to the beginning.” To stop wandering in the Wilderness, fleeing from our past. It is the time to listen to His instructions and to go back to the beginning and restore ourselves as a People of God. In the coming days, I will write on who we are as a New People, and how we are to respond to the Voice of God in our daily lives. to see the “burning Bush and even in our fear, obey with Love.
Even as Moses was afraid, and hide, made excuses and doubted his abilities, we also hide from God. we make excuses and are slow to act according to His commands. How often have we known what we should do, but fail to act upon it because we are doubting our own ability? Do you not understand, that if God wants you to do something, he will give you the ability to do it? This devotion series will be based on the promise that God has given us the ability to grow, go forward and to fulfill His Promise.
Be at peace, walk with confidence and know that God has chosen each of us to be pure, faithful and true. The lessons provided will show you that we are a chosen people to do good, walk righteously and to honor and serve each other as God has loved us.
Blessings to all, in His Holy Name, Jesus.
“I Love the LORD because He hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. ….O LORD, I am your servant; yes, I am your servant, born into your household; you have freed me from my chains.” (Psalm 116: 1, 16 NLT)
When I say there are rules, I say it lightly but there are attitudes about prayer that should reflect your prayer life. Simple facts that make your prayers more effective and heartfelt.
“Gaze upon God.” God is the most important thing about prayer. Let your complete focus be on who you are talking to. Whatever you are p[raying about takes second p[lace to who you are talking to. We tell God what we want done or what we need in our lives but still He is the one who makes the choices for us. We are to focus completely on HIM! We are at His mercy and kindness. If we think more of what we are praying for rather than who we are praying to, then our attention is divides. When you talk to someone face to face, you make sure you have the attention of the person you are talking to or you wouldn’t bother continuing to talk. The Same goes for God. He wants your undivided attention when you talk with Him.
“First Choice.” To often we pray as a last resort. This also slights God, although not intentionally. There is a possibility that I may have to have surgery soon. Do I wait until the day before to pray? No, I pray as soon as I find out about the very possibility. Before I talk to the doctors, before I even make the first appointment. Why? Because God is the first one to talk to about it, not the last. His will, His heart is the one that matters the most. This is an issue me about entering the “temple”, the house of Prayer and Worship. It is not a place to chatter and gossip, it is a place to talk with God. Before you enter into His House, pray. When in His House, PRAY! Talk afterwards, in church it is your tike with HIM!
Pray with conviction rather than crisis. Look at the big rather than the small. Your issues may be minor in comparison to others. While praying for our nation, think rather on the needs of places in greater need. When praying for your children with today’s problems, pray for their future. When asking about the choices of today, ask for solutions for problems you have yet to face. Be convicted that God will respond with the best solutions if you can listen.
Fill your prayers with praise. “And we know that God cause all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His Purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NAS) A good psalm to read to see the reason to praise God at all times is Psalm 107. In the worst of times and in the best of times, praise God.
Pray “retail” not wholesale. Make your prayers to the point. relate every reason for your prayer in detail. You don’t go into a store without a plan on what you want to buy. the same should be with your prayers, Ask for thank for, praise for each item of your heart. Even when praying for your children name them each, name all the requests for each, leave nothing out. Make your prayer complete and not generic.
Pray in the Spirit and by the Spirit. James says (paraphrasing) Pray for what you mean, mean what you pray. I am listing a group of verses for you to look up, so grab your bibles and read each one of them.
Eph. 5:18; Roma. 8:26,27; 1 Cor. 14:14,15; Jude 20; 1 Pet. 4:10,11.
Bless you all this day and pray well.
“Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud;
be gracious to me and answer me!
You have said, ‘Seek My face.’
My heart says to You,
‘Your face, LORD, I seek.’ (Psalm 27:7,8 ESV)
Perhaps this is the most important reason to pray, God’s invitation to share with Him. He asks us to be a part of His Love, and in doing so He offers us an invitation to Fellowship with Him, He says, “Seek My Face!” The whole purpose of Christ is to bring us to the invitation of God’s Fellowship. But this is only one invitation. He also invites us to rest, “Casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.” ( 1 Peter 5:7 NAS). Prayer is an invitation to find strength and wisdom, “He give strength to the wearied, He strengthens the powerless>” (Isaiah 40:29 Jerusalem Bible). God invites us to His protection and help, “I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He brought me out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay; and he set my feet upon the Rock making my footsteps firm.” Psalm 40:1,2 NAS)
Also read in its entirety Psalm 139. It is a prayer of God’s Help and Wisdom. In particular the ending, “God examine my heart, probe me and know my thoughts.” In prayer let this invitation of God to help and to examine you be Wisdom for your soul.
The final invitation of God is the call to lift up each other’s burdens and to be intercessors. This is expressed best in Ephesians 6:18; “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” All the time, Everywhere, in the Spirit, for EVERYONE!
“When my whole heart I cry; answer me O LORD! I will keep your statutes.
I call to you; save me that I may observe your testimonies.” (Psalm 119:145,146 ESV)
Doing the will of God is the highest calling. It is the greatest good we can do. In our prayer life seeking God’s will and observing it wit will be the greatest gift we can offer up to Him. The two great Commandments say, LOVE GOD and love each other. Prayer is the extension of that same love. We offer ourselves in love to God and we ask (hopefully for His love to be extended to all we pray for.
Therefore, because god is God and because His Love transcends everything, and because God is our loving Father, prayer becomes that time and place when we seek Him. Not to bring Him closer to us but to bring us closer to Him! To bring us closer to HIS viewpoint, His perspective and understanding. Prayer draws us to God’s understanding and the discovery of His will in our lives.
“Out of his infinite glory, may he give you the power through his Spirit for your hidden self to grow, so that Christ may live in your hearts through faith and then planted in love and build on love, you will with all the saints have strength to grasp the breath and the length, the height and the depth; until, knowing the love of Christ, which is beyond all knowledge, you are filled with the utter fullness of God.” (Eph. 3:16-19 Jerusalem Bible) These words are the most complete prayer for God’s will in us. Let this be our prayer IN RESPONSE TO KNOWING THE WILL OF GOD AND PURPOSE FOR EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US. God bless you this day.