And a highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
the unclean shall not pass over it.
It shall belong to those who walk on the way;
even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. Isaiah 35:8
A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Isaiah 40:3
Father God, I want to walk in Your ways, the highway of holiness. You are Holiness that I seek and desire. You are Love and Righteousness. You are Holiness. You make me whole. When I walk on this highway, I walk toward You. I so want to be wholly Yours, and walk the remainder of this life on earth in holiness.
But my people have forgotten Me;
they make offerings to false gods;
they made them stumble in their ways,
in the ancient roads,
and to walk into side roads,
not the highway, making their land a horror,
a thing to be hissed at forever.
Everyone who passes by it is horrified
and shakes his head. Jeremiah 18:15-16
I do not want to wander from this highway yet I am human. I have; I do; I will. I have made and will make mistakes and I do error. Yet, LORD, I do not want to. You have forgiven me of my many past wrong steps. I seek Your face, asking forgiveness for these paths I walk down when they are not Yours. Thank You for loving me back into Your arms, my Precious Father.
“Set up road markers for yourself;
make yourself guideposts;
consider well the highway,
the road by which you went.
Return, O virgin Israel,
return to these your cities.” Jeremiah 31:21
I read Your Word, Father, as It is truly filled with the road markers that You have set before me. I may wander off the highway, yet I want to be able to find You and Your way no matter what happens, no matter which way I turn. I seek You and am learning to be quiet so that I may hear Your still and small voice, for I want to know You in the beauty of Who You are. You are my God. In the dark of night when the highway is black and there is no moonlight, I want to know that I am on Your path for me, for my life.
But according to His promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by Him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 2 Peter 3:13-14
With anticipation, with joy, and with expectancy, I continue taking step after step. Today, I desire to stay in this very moment with You, my LORD. Tomorrow, I want to walk beside You on Your road for me.
But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. Romans 6:17-18
God, You have transformed my heart, beginning with my conversion to be Your daughter in Christ Jesus. I walk as closely to You as I can. I hope to stay near You from this moment on. When I stray, LORD, please draw me near. I sense Your strength as I am drawn under the shadow of Your wing, into the cleft of the rock. I want to grow in love and righteousness, live according to Your Word, and be pleasing to You now and for always. In the Powerful Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
But this command I gave them: ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’ Jeremiah 7:23
Amen and Amen.
Photo 1: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7895628@N03/2807135427; “Endless Road” via http://photopin.com; licensed under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/
Photo 2: Stas Kulesh, a Russian travel photographer living in Auckland, New Zealand. https://hd.unsplash.com/photo-1451817045432-8c40f15299f9; https://unsplash.com/@kulesh; licensed under Creative Commons Zero
“So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.” (James 3:5-6)
A friend was teaching her four year old son about spoken words. She wanted him to know how important it is to think before he speaks, to use either kind words or no words at all, and to respond when spoken to in an uplifting and respectful manner.
She wrote “W O R D” on a piece of cardboard, making sure he knew what those four letters together meant. Then asking her son to take the tube of toothpaste, she told him to trace over the four letters with the paste as he squeezed it from the tube. For a four year old, this was great fun! Upon completion she praised him on his careful toothpaste tracing. Her next request surprised him.
She said, “Now, put the toothpaste back into the tube.”
He looked at the cardboard with the toothpasted “W O R D” on it.
Please join me at Blessed Transgressions for the rest of this post.
As in water face reflects face,
so the heart of man reflects the man.
Proverbs 27:19 ESV
Have you looked down into still water only to see yourself looking back? A physical appearance is what we see. Water or a mirror show us at least a vague mirror image of the one doing the looking.
As a face is reflected in water,
so the heart reflects the real person. NLT
As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart. NIV
As in water face reflects face,
So a man’s heart reveals the man. NKJV
Who can see a reflection of the heart? The heart is inside and does not reflect anything outward. The heart does plenty on the inside like beating regularly, keeping the blood flowing through our bodies, carrying nutrients hither and yon, keeping us alive. When a doctor runs an ECG (EKG) on one’s heart, a graph of it beating can be seen with the eye. When the doctor places a stethoscope on the heart area, he/she can hear the beat.
Unless a cardiologist or other doctor is listening to or opening up the chest cavity to care for an actual physical heart problem, I tend to feel that my heart and I are on our own most of the time. I may reflect a piece of my heart by telling someone I love them. I also may share what “is on my heart” with another.
These ways are not the only ways my heart is reflected. Words and actions can reveal what my true heart nature is like. I may try to conceal, rather than reveal, this heart nature, my true nature. But God can see my heart for He knows me well. He created me, knowing my nature. He knows the thoughts in my mind and the nature of my heart. I cannot hide from God. No matter what travels in and through my heart, and should I try to conceal such from showing up in my expressions, in words from my mouth, or in my actions, they are still inside my heart. God tests my heart to grow me, to move me in and through these hidden, torturous plagues of the heart.
O LORD of hosts, Who tests the righteous,
Who sees the heart and the mind,
let me see Your vengeance upon them,
for to You have I committed my cause.
…but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God Who tests our hearts. 1 Thessalonians 2:4
What ensnares me from having my heart be in that very place that I want it to be so I can stand so close to my God? Do I hold envy there? or fears? or anger? or jealousy? or what? What keeps my heart from reflecting the heart that God made?
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. James 1:23-24
I want nothing to block my heart, nothing to be hidden there. I do not want any one to stumble because of me. Yet, perfect I am not, except in Christ…some day in Eternity. I desire God’s tests so that I will be more and more able to reflect the image of Christ Jesus from the inside-out and the outside-in.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18
Father, You know my heart. I so desire to reflect Jesus in all I am and all I do for I am Your daughter. Forgive me when I try to conceal things that I know are not of You. Guide me so that there is less and less of those things hidden in my heart. I want my focus to be on You, LORD, and not on me. May my heart reflect the love and beauty that is You. Walk near to me as I walk near to You, O LORD. Mold my heart and make me more and more into Your perfect vessel. I am Yours and will do all that You ask and require of me, LORD. Thank You for hearing my prayer tonight. With adoration, thanksgiving, and praise, I pray in the Name of Jesus. I love You, Father. Amen.
Hot Air Balloon Heart: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/fc/9b/d6/fc9bd6772ba3e1646c638a94a88bdfe4.jpg
In my younger and middle aged days, I ALWAYS wanted to fit in, not stand out. I wanted to be wanted. Have you ever felt this way? I did things that I should not have done so that I would fit in. I laughed at dumb jokes so I would not stand out as the odd girl out. I said things to make myself, seemingly, a part of the crowd. In reality, I would go home and detest myself for acting those ways because it was NOT who I really was. I had this shadow following me around for years saying, “But you said….But you did this….But you did that….” and I would be living with these lies for years.
As I have grown older and have grown closer to Christ, I have come to realize that I am unique, different than anyone else on this earth. I am me! God created me and I am like no one else. He wanted one me and now I am thankful to Him for His mercy and grace in forgiving my lies that I have told about myself and believed about myself. I AM THE ONLY, THE ONE AND ONLY ME!! : ) I do not have to fit into the world. Jesus said, “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” John 17:16
Paul said, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
I am beginning to feel like the woman who wrote, “When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple.” Maybe I shall not wear purple, but I shall dress from the inside-out, allowing God to remind me of just who I am. I am now in my late sixties and have finally come to accept this beautiful fact and truth that is ME!
Thank You, my Sweet Father. I am this odd girl out. I am a peculiar treasure to You. I am Yours. I am the only me and I accept this me for she is who I am. And, LORD, when I forget this truth, please remind me that I am unique because this is how You made me. I am loved as I am. I have been given gifts from You that are unique to me. Forgive me when I forget; forgive me when I try to fit in to this world. I thank You for loving me, Father.
Meanings of the word peculiar today:
- strange, odd, unusual, bizarre, weird, queer, unexpected, unfamiliar, abnormal, atypical, out of the ordinary;
- exceptional, extraordinary, remarkable; puzzling, mystifying, mysterious, perplexing, baffling;
- suspicious, eerie, uncanny, unnatural
There are three sets of meanings here.
In God’s Word, there are also three different meanings, ever-so-slightly different yet the same.
feminine passive participle of an unused root meaning to shut up; wealth (as closely shut up):—jewel, peculiar (treasure), proper good, special, private property; often used as the people of Israel
Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine: And ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. Exodus 19:5-6
For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto Himself, and Israel for His peculiar treasure. Psalm 135:4
And they shall be Mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Malachi 3:17
Two slightly different words:
that which is one’s own, belonging to one’s possessions: a people selected by God from the other nations for His own possession
being beyond usual, i.e. special (one’s own):—peculiar
Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Titus 2:14
acquisition (the act or the thing); by extension, preservation:—obtain(-ing), peculiar, purchased, possession, saving
Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:14
Whereunto He called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 2:14
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light:…. 1 Peter 2:9
May I look inside of me, Father, and see the beautiful heart You have given me. May I know deep down that Your creation is a treasure to You. Oh, that I am a jewel to the God of all creation. Oh, Father, how amazed I am at this gem of wisdom. I am Your jewel, Your precious treasure. I am peculiar because I am beyond the usual. BEYOND THE USUAL!!! OH, how wonderful that sounds to this child of Yours who has tried to fit in for so much of her life. I love You, LORD. You are so beautiful to me. Thank You for guiding me to this realization. I feel like sunshine. I am smiling for this truth is so very special for and to me, LORD. I feel like a light in this world because I am Yours. May I sparkle as a real jewel that has been buried in the earth and suddenly brought to daylight. I know…I KNOW I am Your peculiar treasure. In gratitude, I pray in the Name of Jesus. Hallelujah and Amen.
Rose: CC0 Public Domain – JaStra @ https://pixabay.com/en/rose-shrub-rose-pink-rose-flower-1450604/
Flower with butterfly: CC0 Public Domain – Hans @ https://pixabay.com/static/uploads/photo/2013/09/25/13/22/apollo-186207_960_720.jpg
From root word etymology תָּמַם (H8552)
completeness; figuratively, prosperity; usually (morally) innocence:—full, integrity, perfect(-ion), simplicity, upright(-ly, -ness), at a venture, at random
But a certain man drew his bow at random and struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate. Therefore he said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn around and carry me out of the battle, for I am wounded.” 1 Kings 22:34
Now Abimelech had not approached her. So he said, “Lord, will You kill an innocent people? Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.” Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against Me. Therefore I did not let you touch her. Genesis 20:4-6
Integrity can mean a number of things, but I am focusing on walking with simplicity of mind and heart, with no mischief or ill design, nor evil thought. One stands in innocence before the LORD because one is innocent. One carries purity of mind and heart wherever one goes.
In 1 Kings 22:34 (above), the word “random” is a word for “in innocence” in the Hebrew. The interpretation would be that he drew his bow innocently, not intending to hit the king of Israel.
God looks at my heart and knows the intent. Am I guilty or am I innocent in what I do? Are my actions those of Christ? Do I look like Jesus to one who has never met Him? – Once they have met Him through testimony or the Bible, would I represent the Savior or not? Do I walk worthy of the LORD? Is my path straight as God has laid it out for me? Do I cause others to stumble? Are the words I speak those of integrity? Am I truthful in what I say? Does my mouth open with gossip or untruths flying out? Or do I speak with honesty and trustworthiness?
I pray that I walk with integrity of the heart, mind, and soul. I desire to walk uprightly, worthy of God. But…I am human and fail. I am not perfect in this earthly body, yet I strive to walk in purity as best as I am able. This is only slightly possible if and when I am walking with the LORD. I must stay close to Him for I know not what He calls me to be and do unless I am. Thus, I may be able to walk in His ways and be more of the upstanding person He desires of me.
Vindicate me, LORD, because I have lived with integrity and have trusted in the LORD without wavering. Psalm 26:1
Is not your fear of God your confidence,
and the integrity of your ways your hope? Job 4:6
LORD, I desire with my heart and mind and soul to walk in Your ways. I desire to be a citizen of Heaven who represents You here in this world. I hope that I am able with Your nearness, Your love, Your guidance. I want to walk uprightly, in integrity, Father. I pray for Your forgiveness when I fail You. Guide me back to the path which is straight. Guide me to Your heart when I stray. I pray that integrity becomes more and more of who I am in You, LORD. As I learn reverence for You with each day, I gain confidence. Thank You. Father God. As integrity becomes embedded in my very nature more and more, I gain hope. Again, thank You, my LORD. I feel so blessed because You are my God, and Jesus You are my LORD and Savior. Hallelujah! I pray in the Powerful Name of Jesus. Amen.
C.S. Lewis graphic – https://quotefancy.com/
1 Chronicles 29:17 -Donna Liljegren 2012 – https://brynwoodneedleworks.blogspot.com/2012/07/sunday-scripture_22.html
from an unused root meaning to smooth; a threshing-floor (as made even); by analogy, any open area:—a barn-, corn-, threshing- floor, a threshing-, void- place before the gates of a city
Freshly harvested grain was thrown into a large pile in the very center of the floor. It was then hand raked onto the area of the floor where the oxen would walk around and around, breaking the husks away from the actual grain. This area was called the threshing floor. It was flat and hardened by the passing of oxen over the sheaves, sometimes pulling a sled designed to separate the grain from the husks, the tares (weeds, false grain) from the wheat. Afterwards, the stalks and grain were thrown up into the air (winnowing) so that the wind would blow the unwanted chaff away, leaving the kernels.
The threshing floors were also important places and were often used as landmarks. Men and royalty often sat in the gates of a city, often on or near a threshing floor.
And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah sat each on his throne, having put on their robes, in a void place in the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them. 1 King 22:10
The words, threshing floor, is one word in the King James version of the Bible. In looking up the Hebrew, we find the same word, goren, is for both threshing and for floor. Thus, translating the Hebrew into English gives us threshingfloor as one word. Other versions of the Bible separate the two words but translate them individually from the one word, goren.
Joseph, with his kinsmen and Egyptian followers, halted for seven days at the threshing floor of Atad to lament the death of Jacob.
When they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, they lamented there with a very great and grievous lamentation, and he made a mourning for his father seven days. Genesis 50:10
Travelers might welcome a threshing floor to stop for the night as the hard, level spot would be preferable to surrounding stony fields for tents.
David bought a threshing floor to build an altar to the LORD.
1 Then satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel. … 7 And God was displeased with this thing; therefore He struck Israel. … 18 Then the angel of the LORD commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up, and set up an altar unto the LORD in the threshingfloor of Ornan (Araunah) the Jebusite. … 20 Now Ornan was threshing wheat. He turned and saw the angel, and his four sons who were with him hid themselves. … 24 But King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will buy them for the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” 25 So David paid Ornan 600 shekels of gold by weight for the site. 26 And David built there an altar to the Lord and presented burnt offerings and peace offerings and called on the Lord, and the Lord answered him with fire from heaven upon the altar of burnt offering. … 28 At that time, when David saw that the Lord had answered him at the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, he sacrificed there. 1 Chronicles 21:1, 7, 18, 20, 24-26, 28
Have we felt that something is worth more to us when it is bought and paid for by our earnings? Do we take things for granted when they are given to us for nothing? Is more value placed upon that which we buy, whether by money, labor, or things traded?
This same piece of property was to be where God’s Temple was to be built by Solomon.
1 Then David said, “Here shall be the house of the Lord God and here the altar of burnt offering for Israel.” … 7 David said to Solomon, “My son, I had it in my heart to build a house to the name of the Lord my God. 8 But the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have waged great wars. You shall not build a house to My name, because you have shed so much blood before Me on the earth. 9 Behold, a son shall be born to you who shall be a man of rest. I will give him rest from all his surrounding enemies. For his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days. 10 He shall build a house for My name. He shall be My son, and I will be his Father, and I will establish his royal throne in Israel forever.’ 11 “Now, my son, the Lord be with you, so that you may succeed in building the house of the Lord your God, as He has spoken concerning you. 1 Chronicles 22:1, 7-11
Then Solomon began to build the house of the LORD at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the LORD appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 2 Chronicles 3:1
Mount Moriah is where Abraham sacrificed his son, Isaac, to God.
He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” Genesis 22:2
Threshing floors were places of judgment:
Rejoice not, O Israel! Exult not like the peoples; for you have played the whore, forsaking your God. You have loved a prostitute’s wages on all threshing floors. Threshing floor and wine vat shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail them. Hosea 9:1-2
But they do not know
the thoughts of the Lord;
they do not understand His plan,
that He has gathered them like sheaves to the threshing floor. Micah 4:12
Threshing floors were places of blessings as well. Sheave offerings were laid there to the Lord.
And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, My great army which I sent among you. And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and My people shall never be ashamed. Joel 2:24-26
Wash therefore and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. But when he lies down, observe the place where he lies. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down, and he will tell you what to do.” And she replied, “All that you say I will do.” Ruth 3:3-5 So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son. Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may His name be renowned in Israel! Ruth 4:13-14
“His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will clear His threshing floor and gather His wheat into the barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.” Matthew 3:12
Have I felt that something is worth more to me when it is bought and paid for by the sacrifice of my LORD? Is more value placed upon that which has been purchased for me by the sacrifices of Jesus? Is the gift of forgiveness of the debt I cannot pay and for which I owe such that I am so humbled?
LORD Jesus, I thank You for the love You have for me, for redeeming me. You have blessed me beyond anything I could imagine. I know that a day will come for my judgment. I also know of Your forgiveness of this child. I want to continue to be winnowed for I desire to become more pure for You with each day. I want the chaff to be blown away, then burned. I want only the kernels to be left so that I may make You a loaf of bread. I know You are the Bread of Life, yet I want to give You this gift from my heart. How can I really thank You, Jesus? You have done so very much for me. I am humbled with gratitude. Thresh me on Your threshing floor, my LORD. Separate the weeds and husk from the very grain of me. Winnow me to purity, to wholeness, LORD, for I want to be wholly Yours. In Your beautiful Name, I pray. Amen.
God looked upon the Israelites and called them to be His special people, His own. Over and over again, He told them, I am the Lord thy God. The first three commandments God gave to Moses for His children, in Exodus 20, are:
“I am the Lord your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
“You shall have no other gods before Me.
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
“You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love Me and keep My commandments.” Exodus 20:2-5
Even with these commandments carved in stone, the Israelites had idols and worshiped them, not just once, but many times. Their reasons for doing this spoke of their disobedience to God. God could not turn away from their sin. He would judge their iniquities and bring punishment. If the current generation died, having never received punishment for their sins, the children or grandchildren, even beyond, would be the ones punished for the iniquities of their ancestors.
Therefore they shall be like the morning mist
or like the dew that goes early away,
like the chaff that swirls from the threshing floor
or like smoke from a window. Hosea 13:3
blown away by the wind
Chaff is the part of grain that is beaten out (winnowed) before taking up the wheat, rye, barley, etc., to make into flour. Chaff does not become part of anything we eat. It is threshed up and into the air, taken away from the wheat by the wind and then burned.
Although the children of God were disobedient at times, in the natural world, they might have thought that the morning clouds would bring rain to their parched lands, but the rain did not always come. When the early dew settled upon the grass, it often would be evaporated by the hot sun, leaving no moisture for the earth. Finally, this passage says they are as the smoke, presumably offensive, quickly dissipated into the air. God saw the children as the chaff when they disobeyed, light and not worth keeping. He would have to winnow them as wheat, being driven away from the threshing floor.
“I baptize you with water for repentance, but He Who is coming after me is mightier than I, Whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will clear His threshing floor and gather His wheat into the barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.” Matthew 3:11-12
a stalk of grain from which the kernels have been beaten out
straw broken up by a threshing machine, chaff
Jesus tells us that one day, He will come to the threshing floor to separate the wheat from the chaff. There will be a purging. The last judgment will consist of winnowing—distinguishing doctrines and works, saints and sinners. There will be some, maybe many, among us who look like wheat yet are chaff. There may be those in the church who believe they are “good enough” and that this winnowing does not apply to them. It is not our works or how good we are that, alone, are counted, but do our hearts belong to Jesus? The heart must be completely His. The soul must seek God Who calls. The body, mind, and soul must draw near to God for He will draw near to us. Jesus teaches us that He will gather His wheat after winnowing all of us on the threshing floor. The true believers are valuable and useful, ones made of substance, whereas those who would be considered the chaff are useless, worthless to His Kingdom, light and able to be carried about in the wind to doctrines and to people who are not of the One and Only True God.
…so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
The chaff will be burnt up.
At the time of winnowing/judgment, the wheat will be brought into the barn where the true believers will be safe, together, completely separated from all that is not of God, and will be purified.
We live together in this world, the wheat and the chaff, and must discern the difference. Which am I? is a question needed to be asked.
Father God, I pray that as I walk the remainder of my days here on this earth, I will be as wheat to You and not as chaff. May I not be easily blown away as I once was. I am so grateful to You, LORD, for forgiving me of my sins and my disobedience. I so desire to be worthy of You. May I be of use to You in this world now and always forever after. Use me as I am, growing me as I learn from You. May my presence in this world be of value to Your Kingdom now. I so love You and want to walk worthy of You in my speech, my behavior, my actions, through who I am and in the ways others see me. I want to grow more and more into the image of Christ, Your Son. Guide me and teach me in ways You want me to go, LORD. I pray in the powerful Name of Jesus. Amen.
I am honored to have a guest post up today at a new online magazine, Blessed Transgressions. This is my story.
(Some of you have read this (as I have posted it here @ Being Woven in conjunction with Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood. Please feel free to share it with others.)
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. John 4:1
I was raised in a Christian home, learned about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. (Please note, for later in this conversation, that I said, “…learned about….”) We were a Navy family and moved every two to four years, therefore changed churches without changing denominations. I was not introduced to Jesus as Someone with Whom I could have a relationship. In my senior and my fifth year of college, I lived away from home and did not attend church at all. Shortly after college, I married a man who never had attended a church and wanted nothing to do with one so having a spiritual conversation was not even an option. (Let me throw another fact in to be absorbed a bit later: Before marrying him, I heard a quiet voice say to me, “You are not to marry him” which I ignored completely.”) Upon divorce ten years later, I felt “something” was missing from my life. I set out to find a church that I felt comfortable in and landed upon one with a very strong singles’ group. This church was a different Christian denomination from my childhood one, yet also did not introduce me to Jesus, only spoke about Him.
When I moved back to be near family again, I found another church. It was what I came to know as a New Age church. Join me @ Blessed Transgressions for the rest of my story.
The word “faint(s)” in Psalm 142 and 143 seemed unusual as I read these Psalms. We read 142 one evening and then 143 the next and there that word was again. So I decided to look it up and see where God would lead me.
When my spirit faints within me,
You know my way!
In the path where I walk
they have hidden a trap for me. Psalm 142:4
When my spirit grows faint within me,
it is you who watch over my way.
In the path where I walk
people have hidden a snare for me. NIV
When I am afraid,
you, Lord, know the way out.
In the path where I walk,
a trap is hidden for me. NCV
When my spirit was overwhelmed within me,
You knew my path.
In the way where I walk
They have hidden a trap for me. NASB
Therefore my spirit faints within me;
my heart within me is appalled. Psalm 143:3
Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me;
My heart is desolate within me. NASB
Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me;
My heart within me is distressed. NKJV
So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed. NIV
My spirit is weak within me; my heart is overcome with dismay. HCSB
a primitive root; to shroud, i.e. clothe (whether transitive or reflexive); hence (from the idea of darkness) to languish:—cover (over), fail, faint, feebler, weak, hide self, be overwhelmed, swoon
David reminds me that I may become overwhelmed with fears, with darkness, with frustration, with a variety of emotions, with the things that are happening all around us…in our country and world. A mind can become oppressed from the inside, while outward troubles can bring on these fears as well. Matthew Henry states in his Commentary, “It is sometimes the lot of the best men to have their spirits for a time almost overwhelmed and their hearts desolate, and doubtless it is their infirmity. David was not only a great saint, but a great soldier, and yet even he was sometimes ready to faint in a day of adversity.” *
I have not literally fainted to the ground, but the fears and emotions have overtaken me over and over during my life. It is just human for most of us, I believe. Yet, David reminds me that, although, the likes of Saul, Absalom, armies of many sorts may be holding us captive, reaching out to God is the answer. God listens. He hears our prayers. God knows where we are…physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally. He watches our backs.
Jonah calls out to God ~
When my life was fainting away,
I remembered the LORD,
and my prayer came to You,
into Your holy temple. Jonah 2:7
Jonah knew that God was with him. He desired to be close to his LORD.
David also knew just Who to call upon and Who would hear him. These men praise God for His faithfulness and His protection. I can sense the love of God through their words too. I know God is near. I know He is with me. I know these truths. Teach me more, my Father.
Hear my cry, O God,
listen to my prayer;
from the end of the earth I call to You
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I,
for You have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy.
Let me dwell in Your tent forever!
Let me take refuge under the shelter of Your wings! Selah Psalm 61:1-4
Father God, You are my Refuge, my Shelter when I become afraid of the future, of growing older, serious family illnesses, the violence in our country and in our world. Father, my heart feels weak and weary sometimes. You know how things affect me. Yet, there is only one answer to any darkness of heart or mind…You are that Answer. I call upon Your Name and You hear me, my Father. You treat me with love and care. You nestle me near to Your breast and I know comfort. I know love. I know gentleness. I know You…more and more with each day. Oh, how grateful I am, my Father. Thank You for teaching me the Truth in Your Word. Thank You for healing my faint and stumbling heart. I want to walk in Your ways and only those. I fail and yet You forgive this child. I desire to walk uprightly. Guide me, LORD. I love You so. How can I love You more yet I do with the passing of each day. I pray in the Truth of Your Son, Jesus. Amen.
* from “Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Psalm 143”
No matter what the world looks like through our human eyes, God knows the Truth. He knows all. No matter whether we think He is listening to us, responding to us as we pray, He is doing so according to His will.
He is Omniscient. He is Omnipotent. He is Omnipresent.
I call out, “Hear me, O God.” Consider and hear me O LORD my God;… Psalm 13:3a
Do You call to me so that I listen to You?
“Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you; O Israel, if you would listen to Me!” Psalm 81:8
You are Omnipresent, always with and before me. Your Word is before me. Your grace surrounds me. Your mercy rains upon me.
You are Omniscient, all knowing. You see all. Nothing is hidden from You, Father, even that which is hidden in our hearts. You know.
You are Omnipotent, all-ruling, almighty. You have authority over all, my Heavenly Father.
Too often I do not hear You because I am making noise, asking, begging, telling. I desire to sit before You, but I get busy and forget. I am sorry.
What I need is…
desiring to hear the One and only One.
“Hear me, O LORD; hear me that this people may know that You are the LORD God and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.” 1 Kings 18:37
Listening — hearing …
Your tender love speaking to my heart
Your Word to me personally on the pages of the Holy Bible
Your still, small voice clear and beautiful, quiet and sweet into my ear
Listening is loving so much that I am calm and still, waiting.
Your wisdom sails into my being and stays.
Hearing is having ears and a heart open that I may use Your wisdom as I walk with You.
I want to listen; I want to hear — so much so that Your voice becomes a piece of me that naturally flows in and through, a non-ending stream. I desire You, My LORD.
… “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.” Acts 15:7b
Obedience walks with listening. How can I be listening if I am not obeying You?
Hear, O Israel, and be careful to obey… Deuteronomy 6:3a
Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, … Deuteronomy 12:28a
I am … I want to be…
an obedient child
that God has called me to be.
“Whoever is of God hears the words of God….“ John 8:47a