A Highway

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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. 

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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

Heart Reflection

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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.

Illustration of heart with heartbeat, electrocardiogram,

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.
Jeremiah 20:12

…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. 

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Photo credits:

Woman at water:   Fenanov via Foter.com / CC BY

Heartbeat:  http://www.mannaplus.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Heart-beat1.jpg

Hot Air Balloon Heart: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/fc/9b/d6/fc9bd6772ba3e1646c638a94a88bdfe4.jpg

Peculiar Treasure

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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.

Hebrew

סְגֻלָּה

cĕgullah

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

 

Greek

Two slightly different words:

περιούσιος

periousios

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

περιποίησις

peripoiēsis

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 Christ2 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

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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.  

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Integrity

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תֹּם

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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.

BibleVerse-Integrity

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.  

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1 Chronicles 29:17 -Donna Liljegren 2012 – https://brynwoodneedleworks.blogspot.com/2012/07/sunday-scripture_22.html