God Cannot Endure Iniquity

“Bring your worthless offerings no longer, 

Incense is an abomination to Me.

New moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies–

I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly.

Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me;

I am weary to bear them.”

Isaiah 1:13-14

The people were doing the right things according to the Law.  It looked good on the surface, to the eye of others, but God could see through to their hearts.  Their hearts were not set upon God, but upon themselves and the world.  Their hearts were filled with iniquity (immoral or grossly unfair behavior).  The blood of their own hands covered them.  God voiced, through Isaiah, such contempt in this first chapter of Isaiah.  “But if their heart wasn’t changed, and humbled, and surrendered to the LORD, it made no difference. Without the right heart, God hated their religious ceremony and service!” (David Guzik wrote in his “Study Guide for Isaiah 1”.)

“So when you spread out your hands in prayer,

I will hide My eyes from you;

Yes, even though you multiply prayers,

I will not listen.

Your hands are covered with blood.”

Isaiah 1:15

I bow my head for I know that I do things that sound right, look right, feel right, but God can see my heart and knows when I am not standing rightly before Him.  Matthew Henry, in his commentary, says, “…that sacrifice, without obedience, is a jest, an affront and provocation to God.”

God calls His children to:

“Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;

Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. 

Cease to do evil,

Learn to do good;

Seek justice,

Reprove the ruthless,

Defend the orphan,

Plead for the widow.”

Isaiah 1:16-17

isaiah1_17


Dearest Father, I call You… please be with me at every turn that I would and will do and be right in Your eyes.  I ask for Your forgiveness and ask You to hold me near… that I may always be learning what it is to be Your obedient child.  I want to please You, Father.

God continues:

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD,

“Though your sins are as scarlet,

They will be as white as snow;

Though they are red like crimson, 

They will be like wool.

“If you consent and obey,

You will eat the best of the land;

“But if you refuse and rebel,

You will be devoured by the sword.”

Truly, the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Isaiah 1:18-20

Oh, Father, You want us to come to You with open and repentant hearts.  You want us to do right in Your eyes.  Please … Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.  (Psalm 51:7)  I am Yours.  I am no better than these, and I ask to come near, into Your Presence… I draw near to You for I desire to be in Your Presence, in Your Love.  Teach me Your ways, O LORD.  I am forever being woven.   I humble myself before You and ask these in the precious Name of Jesus.  Amen.

isaiah1_18

Graphics from http://www.heartlight.org

Coloring Inside the Lines

Abba, when I color in the lines, I feel like I have some control.  I feel that the boundaries are there, all around me, and I am safe.  When I color inside the lines, I sense some sort of satisfaction with being neat and tidy.  I like this feeling.  I did as a child when I colored or painted by-the-number for I knew how it might turn out when I was finished.  I just liked that and actually still do.  That safety issue keeps ringing in my ears and heart too.  

color-by-number-easter-pictures-i10


Your own created beauty has lines.  Can I color them?  I know You have colored them already, but will You allow me to color them today?

monarch-butterfly-coloring-pages

YET… it is not about me having control, is it, Abba?  It is about me surrendering and obeying You.  So when I color where You ask me to, or tell me to, it is alright?  Will I be safe?  It is not about safety, is it?  It is about my relationship with You whether I color neatly inside the lines or create life outside those lines, as long as the life, whether colorful, or gray, or black and white, is the life You have called me to.  Why does this feel hard, Father?  I seem to be figuring out what and how to do and be without Mama here.  She is gone and that piece of my life missing.  I can’t color inside those “caregiving” lines anymore.  I have to move on into the next step of life where You call me.  Someone recently blogged about stepping “Forward”.  That is what I need to do and am trying to do.  

But I also want to curl back up inside those lines of safety because I feel like that child again who needs the confines of order: those warm blankets, my Mama’s arms, her sweet peck on the neck or cheek, the security of my Daddy, the sacredness of my marriage with the protection of Christ in the center of two.  Oh, Abba, I have that last part.  My marriage is wrapped in Your arms, in the security of Your love, and within Your Word.  It is built upon the Rock.  Whether I color inside or outside the lines, I have You through my marriage and through my belief in You.  You are all I need.  

I am so very grateful for walking me through this as I type words that I didn’t even know were there.  Thank You for giving me Your Holy Spirit to teach me, to pray for me, to show me the way.

 

You will forget your misery;

you will remember it as waters that have passed away.

And your life will be brighter than the noonday;

its darkness will be like the morning.

And you will feel secure, because there is hope;

you will look around and take your rest in security.  Job 11:16-18 ESV


I think I shall go get my colored pencils and see where You lead me?

Sharpened_pencil_next_to_sheet_paper

 

Graphics:

Cross:  http://coloringpagesplus.com/Cbn.html

Butterfly:  http://imagixs.com/monarch-butterfly-coloring-pages/

“Sharpened Pencil Next to Sheet Paper”:  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sharpened_pencil_next_to_sheet_paper.jpg

Oh, These Wonderful Psalms

Open-bible_620


Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.  Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day,and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”
 Luke 24:44-47 NASB

Jesus speaks of the Psalms that contain words of Him, words that were written down hundreds of years prior, telling of prophecies that would, in fact, be His very life’s story.  Christ died with Psalm 22:1 on his lips: “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”  

David, God’s man after His own heart, God’s anointed, God’s earthly king, His “sweet psalmist” speaks in verse 2 of 2 Samuel 23 of the psalms he wrote, that the words he wrote were directed by the Holy Spirit, and were the Word of God…for me, they ARE the very Word of God.

Now these are the last words of David. David the son of Jesse declares, The man who was raised on high declares, The anointed of the God of Jacob, And the sweet psalmist of Israel, “The Spirit of the LORD spoke by me, And His word was on my tongue.”  2 Samuel 23:1-2

The Psalms, the Psalter, is a collection of divinely inspired prayers, praises, poems, originally sung to a harp or lyre or lute.  The word “psalms” in the Greek denotes “plucking or twanging of strings”, associating them with singing.  The Book of Psalms have several names from the Hebrew, the Greek, the various translations: Praises, The Book of Praises, Psalms, The Book of Psalms, a hymn book, the Israelites God-breathed hymn book.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther, Matthew Henry, and others, saw the Psalms as so much more than we can see with just the eye.  It takes the heart and soul to look deeply into these beautiful words. Mr. Bonhoeffer, in his book, “Psalms,The Prayer Book of the Bible,” says, “The richness of the Word of God ought to determine our prayer, not the poverty of our heart.  Thus if the Bible also contains a prayer book, we learn from this that not only that Word which He has to say to us belongs to the Word of God, but also that Word which He wants to hear from us, because it is the Word of his beloved Son.  This is pure grace, that God tells us how we can speak with Him and have fellowship with Him.  We can do it by praying in the name of Jesus Christ.  The Psalms are given to us to this end, that we may learn to pray them in the name of Jesus Christ.”

Matthew Henry wrote about the Psalms:  “The Hebrew calls it Tehillim, which properly signifies Psalms of praise, because many of them are such; but Psalms is a more general word, meaning all metrical compositions fitted to be sung, which may as well be historical, doctrinal, or supplicatory, as laudatory. Though singing be properly the voice of joy, yet the intention of songs is of a much greater latitude, to assist the memory, and both to express and to excite all the other affections as well as this of joy. The priests had a mournful muse as well as joyful ones; and the divine institution of singing psalms is thus largely intended; for we are directed not only to praise God, but to teach and admonish ourselves and one another in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs….  It is called the Book of Psalms.”

colossians3_16

LORD, as I ponder Your prayer book, please teach me Your ways for this life I live on this earthly plane.  I want to sing with joy or with lamentation… singing to You the ways that You desire for me.  I thank You for giving us this book of prayers.  I want to be guided to Your ear that You will hear me praying Your will and Your will alone.  I don’t want my will to be the center of my prayer life.  Open my mind to understand the Scriptures.  Teach me, Abba Father.  Teach me, I pray, in the power of Your Son’s Name.  Amen.

Photo of Bible on leg:  http://renew-cc.org/

Graphic of Colossians 3:16:  http://www.heartlight.org

Evidence of Focus

Let your gentle [spirit] be known to all men. The Lord is near.  Philippians 4:5 NASB

philippians4_5

LORD, as I fix my eyes upon You, the Holy One of Israel, the One Who is noble, true, praiseworthy, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent, may I see You, really see You.  May the truth of You envelop me, caress me, and teach me to let the candle in me shine forth to this world around me.  May Your peace enfold me, LORD, that I would be the gentle and quiet spirit You have called me to be.  “…but [let it be] the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.”  1 Peter 3:4   May my very being be continuously filling with the evident truth that I am coming to know You in Your holiness and Your beauty.  Through this Truth, may I continue to grow to be the person You desire me to be from the inside-out.  I pray this be so, in Your Holy Name, Amen.  

 

Graphic:  Heartlight.org – http://www.heartlight.org/gallery/1688.html

Cockles and Mussels, Alive, Alive O!


music-notes-1280x800

Cockles and Mussels  (or Molly Malone)

In Dublin’s Fair City
Where the girls are so pretty
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone
As she wheel’d her wheel barrow
Through streets broad and narrow
Crying cockles and mussels
 alive, alive o!

Chorus
Alive, alive o!, alive, alive o!
Crying cockles and mussels alive, alive o!

I cannot recall when I first heard this song nor where, but I was a child.   This is usually thought to be an Irish ballad published in the late 1800s, but probably written well before that.  In looking the song words up on the internet, I found various authors, dates, and stories behind this story.  But that really doesn’t matter a whole lot, because this sad ballad was etched upon my mind many a year ago.  Molly dies young from some kind of a fever so the story embedded in me a sad tale.  No one should die, let alone die young, or so I thought as a young girl.  But Molly did.  It is the “Cockles and Mussels, alive, alive o!” that hums in my head.  She was a “fishmonger”…selling the shells with the small amount of meat like clams or oysters.

I don’t know if one of my parents hummed this tune as my Dad was from a Scottish family, Mom had an Irish Mom.  Or it could have been a song sung on some folk music radio station.  I really don’t know, but I do know that it was etched in my memory.

Songs affect us as babies. We hear Mama singing a lullaby to us and don’t understand the words, but we know the voice and feel the heart that calms us to sleep.  We hear a silly song that makes us, as a three year old, laugh and tumble with joy.  We hear a swooning love song and wish that just one boy in the freshman class of high school would look our way.  We dance to the beat of some song that means so much to us because we heard it at some special moment in our lives.  Music carries meaning for us… many reasons, many ways.  I think rhythm and words bring alignment with something inside of us.  We may never know just what or why, but it just does.

My mind may hear and learn words, but my heart absorbs words and often feels them clear to my heart, deep into my soul.  BUT… the LORD calls me to Him by His Word, by His words… that I would know His love for me through joy, through trials, through sorrow, through pain.  He never leaves me nor fails me.   Psalm 116 says just that:

 I love the LORD, because He hears My voice [and] my supplications.

Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I shall call [upon Him] as long as I live.

The cords of death encompassed me And the terrors of Sheol came upon me; I found distress and sorrow.

Then I called upon the name of the LORD: “O LORD, I beseech You, save my life!”

Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; Yes, our God is compassionate.

The LORD preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me.

Return to your rest, O my soul, For the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.

For You have rescued my soul from death, My eyes from tears, My feet from stumbling.

I shall walk before the LORD In the land of the living.

Psalm 116:1-9

And sweet are the words from my LORD as He sings over me:

The Lord your God is in your midst,

a mighty One Who will save;

He will rejoice over you with gladness;

He will quiet you by His love;

He will rejoice over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17

As I listen to music, LORD, hold my heart close to You that I will hear You above all else and know that any sorrow, any pain, any trouble, will be caressed by You as we walk through each together.  You are my Refuge and my Strength.  I am forever grateful.  I love You dearly, my sweet, melodious LORD.  Amen.

psalm98_1

Music Notes graphic:  http://wallpapers.eu.com/view/music-notes-1280×800.html
Scripture/Music graphic:  http://www.heartlight.org/gallery/950.html

No Word Fell to the Ground

1samuel3_19-20

God let…LET… NONE of Samuel’s words fall to the ground.  God gave Samuel the words to use for His people.  He kept them airborne that they would be heard.  None …not one…fell to the ground and went unheard.  God used His servant.  God was with Samuel.

The the LORD appeared again in Shiloh.  For the LORD revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD.  1 Samuel 3:21

Confirming the word of His servant And performing the purpose of His messengers.  [It is I] who says of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be inhabited!’  And of the cities of Judah, ‘They shall be built.’  And I will raise up her ruins [again].  Isaiah 44:26

In the verse above, God reconfirms the way He uses His servants as they walk with Him in obedience.

LORD, may I have ears to hear Your Word through Your Holy Spirit in all.  May I honor and glorify You by being obedient to Your will in all that You have and desire for me.  May I be a servant You are pleased with.  I love You, LORD.