Sunday, August 30, 2009

Isaiah 54-58
Ouch this was a convicting one today. Really made me look at myself and wonder what my real motives are. God spoke of the children of Israel and the fact that they fasted--they even "seeked Him daily and his ordinances" the Bible says, but God knew their motives. It was for "their pleasure". It was a fast to get what they wanted...not a fast of repentance or a fast doing good will to others. Even their works on the sabbath...not for others but just to fulfill their own desires.
Abba, forgive me for so often being guilty of the same thing. I am so used to "the routine of doing good" that often my motives aren't pure and my heart is caught seeking my own desires. Help me to change. Help me to have a conscious awareness of my motives for all I do--even if it is part of a routine.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ok....I changed my mind. I love reading the book of Isaiah, atleast the latter chapters for sure. First of all I love all the references that prove how God formed me and made me even before I was in the womb. I know that God created me for a specific purpose. Secondly I am reminded of how much He cares for me...He's not just my creator, Father but He's my Abba. He holds me, He leads me, He "has graven me upon the palm of his hand". Wow! He loves me. Thirdly, Iam reminded of the awesomeness of his sacrifice...He bore the iniquities of all, chastised for our peace. I had to dwell on that for awhile...iniquities of all...i can think of some pretty vile sins that men have committed and been put in prison or killed for and then theres all those "little sins" of everyone throughout time. What a weight! What a burden! But You did it Lord and I am so thankful. Help me LORD today to show my gratitude by sharing that gift with someone else. I love You, Abba!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Are You Thirsty?

Isaiah 44-48

44:3 For I will pour my spirit upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:

I heard this verse in college often. I am reminded of how there must be someone that is thirsty to receive the spirit or a dry ground for there to be refreshment. Sometimes I get so full of the world or other things that honestly I'm not really that thirsty. I'm not dry and longing for refreshment. I think that's a hard balance in the Christian life...learning to constantly weed out the distractions so that your life can be empty long enough for Jesus to fill it.
Abba help me to be really thirsty. I know that sometimes means bringing trials into my life to where I find myself thirsty, but I would much rather have a trial and Your spirit rather than an empty, dry barren life that shows no reflection of You.

45:10-11 Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands? Woe unto him that saith unto his father, What begettest thou? or the to the woman, What hast though brought forth?

Acceptance. I have no control over the way I was born, the family I was born into, but what I can do is accept it. Abba, thank You for teaching me this early on in life and not living with the "victim" syndrome all my life. You designed everything for a reason and for a purpose. Thank You.

48:21 And they thirsted not when he led them through the deserts: he caused the waters to flow out of the rock for them: he clave the rock also, and the waters gushed out. There is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked.

Funny how this verse says what I was thinking earlier...You bring us through trials to make us thirsty. Sad though how the children of Israel were brought through the trial but yet it still didn't make them thirsty. I've seen that in people's lives sometimes. Trials make them bitter instead of better. Instead of turning to God they turn against God. Oh LORD, help me never to do that. Strike me dead before I hurt Your precious name. I don't want to leave a legacy like that. As You said, there is no peace to the wicked.

To sum today's reading up....Help me to be thirsty by accepting what You have brought into my life and turn to You the quench that thirst. I love You, Abba.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

God's Hands

Isaiah 41-43

41:10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

To me, the right hand is always a picture of the strongest side---the best side. God upholding me with His right hand tells me that He is right there (literally...LOL) and is giving His best side to me to hold me up.

He assures me again...
41:13 For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.

Obviously if He is holding my right hand, I am now on His left side meaning to me that God is all around me. His right hand holding me...Him holding my right hand.

This verse cracked me up...
41:13 Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

I don't know what spiritual application I am supposed to get from that, but it makes me laugh that You, Lord, called them a worm and then promised to help them. Makes me think of a mom saying, "Quit whining you, brat, here's your lunch." Maybe it helps me to know that sometimes God gets "fed up" too. Well, maybe there is a more spiritual word for "fed up" but I can't think of one. :)

43:2 When thou passest through the water, I will be with thee; and through the river, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flames kindle upon thee.

In this verse, God doesn't promise me that I won't go through the waters and fires, but that when I do, they shall not overwhelm me or destroy me. Trials are sure to come, problems, burdens inevitably come, but they are only to make God's presence more real to me.

I think also of Psalm 13 where it says "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou are with me"

Sure, I feel close to my husband when we are walking side by side on a breezy beautiful day, but it's when we are in the midst of trouble and he holds me and assures me that everything will be okay that I feel the closest to him. Such is the same with my wonderful Saviour.

43:7 Even everyone that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.

Wow!! To really think about that...I wasn't just a mass production from God. He formed me. Every little detail He decided. Like piece of clay wielded in the potter's hand. All for His glory. I've never been one of those that hates this or that about my body, I guess, I'm pretty content with the way that I was made, but when I do despise those moles :) I can remember they are God's thumbprint on me. :)

All these verses beautifully tie together in helping me to understand the work of Your hands, LORD. They hold me, they help me, and they form me. What a reassuring thought to know that Your hands continue to hold and guide me even today. LORD, help me to be aware of Your hand and willing to hold it to lead me today. I love You, Abba.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Steady Words, Sweet Embraces & Unwaivering Strength

Isaiah 40-43

40:7 "The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever."

I've memorized and have heard that verse a thousand times, as I read it, though, I am extremely thankful for the unchangingness of Your word, LORD. In this world that changes its opinion and standard constantly---a society that allows time to erode away principles, I am so thankful for a Bible that is constant. A standard that I can always turn to that NEVER changes. Maybe I appreciate that more and more the older I get as I see people and society constantly changing.

40:11 "He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lanmbs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young."

I love the picture that this gives me of You. LORD--Your gentle embrace and loving hand to guide. "Carry them in his bosom" that's the most personal and intimate embraces anyone can give--the ultimate display of love and protection. Thank you, Abba.

40:28-31 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, niether is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

You, LORD, are the ultimate source of strength. Trying to get my mind to comprehend all that You do just tires me to even think about it, but yet You don't tire--You don't faint. God help me to remember the times that when I am weary and tired whether it be physically, emotionally or mentally that You are strength that if I trust in You and Your power, I can run again.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Isaiah 31-34
I don't see how anyone can read the book of Isaiah and not umderstand that God is love and because of that He is also a God of wrath. His justice cannot allow sin to continue without consequences.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Playing the Harlot


I get so mad at Israel for making the LORD so sad and angry! How could they turn their back on God and play the harlot by worshipping other gods instead of Him? How could they not fail to see the goodness of God and choose Him after all the miracles He had done for them.
They tried to cover up their sin with good works, burnt sacrifices, and such but God knew their hearts--it was all a facade. He knew the truth. In fact, it made Him sick that they would act like nothing was wrong with their lifestyles.
I see America as an adulterous Israel nowadays. We forget what You have done. We forget the Biblical foundation that was laid in creating this nation. We love our gods of materialism, humanism, & entertainment. We're self-centered and vain. Our number one priority is ourselves. Adultery is commonplace and a mockery. We no longer see our sin as sin. We go on doing our "good works" while You're up in heaven puking at the repulsiveness of its phoniness.
This verse stood out to me...

6:6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

Why would God desire mercy? What does He need to be forgiven of? Nothing. He desires to see me show mercy to others. Mercy is a sign that I care about others; it's not about me. Sacrifice can be an outward show of what I'm willing to "give up" and sometimes can cause the focus to be on me. That's why I think He says the same about the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. Sacrifices/ offerings are outward displays. Mercy/ knowledge of God are inward.
Abba, I know I probably sound redundant at times, but please help me to keep the inward clean. Keep it real. I know You despise fakes--I don't want to be that. Forgive me, Lord. Help me to constantly be focused on You throughout the ENTIRE day not just for my morning devotion time but continually. I want to know You. I want You to be a part of every aspect and decision of my life. Help me to notice and acknowlege Your convinction and to be willing to change. I love you, Abba. Thank You for always being so patient with me.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Are You a Just a Piece of China?

2 Kings 18, 2 Chron 29-31, Psalms 48

Hezekiah is now king and what a great testimony he had:
18:5-6 He trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him. For he clave to the LORD, and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments...

Clave...such a descriptive word. Makes me picture someone clinging onto someone and refusing to let go. Almost like when someone is clutching onto someone when their life is danger.

When Hezekiah began to reign he knew it was time to "clean house."
29:5 And he said unto them, Hear me, ye Levites, santify now yourselves and santify the house of the LORD God of your fathers, and carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place. For our fathers have trespassed, and on that which was evil in othe eyes of the LORD our God and have forsaken him, and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the LORD, and turned their backs.

Our bodies are the temple of the LORD and this pictures what I should always be doing to my temple---cleaning house and carrying out the "filthiness". I think I would be more sober about sinning if I would look at my sin as rotten, putrified filth. I think of some of the houses we treat in our pest control business--eck! pure filthiness. How did they get that way? Neglect over time. Ignoring a mess here and there--becoming oblivious to the mess around them that they "adapt" to it. It really is quite disgusting. Abba, help me to cleanse every little "dirty" sin before my temple becomes overrun with "filthiness".
As I was reading, I realize the importance of cleansing the temple. Santification--set apart for another purpose. It wasn't made clean just for the sake of being clean--it was cleaned so it could be used for the LORD. A clean living Christian is of no use if he's not doing for the LORD. It's like the china in my cabinet. Sure it's clean (well there might be some dust on them now) but it's usefulness is not as great as my normal dinnerware. The china is nice to look at, but my normal dinnerware is sanctified! Help me not to just cross my t's, dot my i's and look the part, but also to be USED for the part. Help me to be more of a soul winner and a help to people.

God used Hezekiah to see a great revival wrought in Judah---even in Jerusalem too. They sang in Psalms...
48:14 For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Bible & Vegetables...Worrying

Isaiah 13-27

Hmmmm...I am confessing my sinfulness; oh how I find little interest in the majority of the book of Isaiah. It's so over my head. Honestly, I am reading through it semi-searching for something, but also just wanting to get through it. It's like that helping of vegetables on your plate. It's not the tastiest thing on the plate, but you know it's good for you and you need it.
So maybe that's part of my lesson. The task of "tasting" all the Bible. But I am grateful that there are a few nuggets here and there that are bursting with "flavor".

Isaiah 26:3-4 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.

I've memorized verse 3 in the past. How true and good it is. When I get overwhelmed with doubts and worry about this or that, I have to chant this verse to myself. My worry is only proof that I am not trusting in God.
I've never much paid attention to the following verse. Trust in the LORD FOREVER. For ever...that's a long time. :) But how it shows how much I trust in You, LORD. You are everlasting strength. I must be willing to admit myself weak, though, before I can submit and benefit from Your strength.
So, Lord, I cast my burdens upon You today. You know exactly what we should do about the financial matter I was worrying about last night. You have taken care of us already in the past; it seems foolish not to continue to trust in You. Help us to do the right thing, make the right decisions based on Your truth and not our convenience. I love You, Abba, forgive me for worrying and not taking advantage of Your perfect peace by keeping my mind stayed on You.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What Doth the Lord Require of Thee?

2 Chron 27

27:2 And he (Jotham) did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Uzziah did: howbeit he entered not into the temple of the LORD. And the people did yet corruptly.

This verse makes me think of how often as a Christian I'm guilty of not doing things ALL the way.

27:6 So Jotham became mighty, because he prepared his ways before the LORD his God.

Goodness! God is so patient with us. Even if we are willing to put God first in only one area of our life, He is willing to bless us.

Isaiah 9-11?, Micah 1-7

I must admit...I get a little lost and confused in the books of prophesy sometimes, but I did find this nugget..

Micah is asking...what shall I bring before a high God...huge offerings? rivers of oil? give my firstborn or the fruit of my body for sin?

6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

To do justly---not fairly. I think that our country has forgotten this principle. Everyone deserves the consequence or the reward of his own personal action---fairness says everyone gets the same thing no matter what. Everyone gets a trophy or everyone gets punished in the class because one person did wrong.

To love mercy---ouch! That's a hard one! Oh, it's easy to love the mercy that others extend to me, but to love mercy so much that I extend it to others?

To walk humbly with thy God---With--that's an important word. I think You love it, God, when I walk WITH You. I think of how friends walk together, side by side. Even a father and child, side by side. Humbly beside You realizing how great You truly are, but enjoying Your presence throughout the day.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

God's Emotions

Amos 6-9
The entire book of Amos is about the prophesy of Israel's destruction. As I read through the verses, I see the variety of God's emotions about His children, Israel. He is so grieved by them. Grieved that they turn from Him continually--that they trust in things/men rather than Him. I also find God angry--angry at their two-facedness. He abhors their songs, their offerings, their oblations. It's all vanity---an outward show but no substance inside. He's had it! It wasn't that they weren't "religious" enough. They were doing all the usual traditions, the motions of religion, but their heart was turned away from Him. He prophesies through Amos that He will destroy all of Israel save a remnant as He promised to build the land again.

This time in history makes me reflect on a few things...
1. I am made in Your image. I have and go through the same emotions You do. Having emotions is not wrong, but being controlled by them is. It was not Your anger or grief that made You decide to destroy Israel, but their actions.

2. You despise fakes. Abba, I feel Your pain. LOL It's bad enough someone does wrong, but it's even worse when they try to cover it up with "good" and act as though they've never done anything wrong at all. I think of that verse...
Proverbs 28:13 "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper; but whoso that confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy."
When I've done wrong, I need to admit it, forsake it, and not try to "cover it up" with ritualistic religious practices.

Abba, I think the worse thing would be for You to turn Your back from me---for You to refuse to even hear my prayers. Create in me a clean heart, O God. When my heart is clean and pure before You, I know that pleases You more than anything! I love You, Abba! Thank You for saving me 16 years ago today!!! I am so blessed!!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Isaiah 1-8
I see how heart-broken You were over Israel--like a wayward child breaks his parents heart.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Signs of Bitterness

Jonah (Part 2)

This second phase of Jonah's story about going to Ninevah made me see how aptly applies to bittnerness in the Christian life---how we respond when others hurt us.

Jonah did not want to go and preach to Ninevah because this was the very country that had long been an enemy of the Israelittes. I don't know what sort of personal history Jonah had with it, but he obviously had no desire to go and tell them about God's judgment and mercy.

1. My personal feelings toward that person override my obedience to God.
Jonah wanted to run the other direction instead of preach to them.
I think of how this happens with church members sometimes. We would rather disobey God and miss church than be around a person that hurt us.

2. I become angry at God's mercy toward those that have hurt me.
The Bible says that Nineveh repented, so God repented the judgment He was going to bring. Jonah's reaction is
4:1"But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry."
He wasn't just upset, but VERY ANGRY. He even tells God,
4:2 And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before Tarshish: for I knew that thou are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of evil.
In other words, I knew You'd forgive them God--that's why I didn't want to come and tell them the Truth!
When I have this attitude it's almost like I am tellling God that I deserve the mercy He gave me, but they don't! I must look at my sin to be just as disgusting as theirs. Thou they have hurt me, I have hurt You just as much. You're willing to forgive me for hurting You, so I can accept that You are willing to forgive them too.

3. I throw a pity party.
Jonah whines...
4:3 Therefore, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than live.
I don't think Jonah really wanted to die---He just wanted God to feel sorry for him.

4. Anger consumes me and I want to seclude myself.
4:4-5 Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry? So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city.

5. I am unwilling to move on.
Jonah wanted to be alone, and he wanted to sit, soak, and sour about the circumstances. He didn't want to move on, but instead wanted to dwell on it and see what would happen.

6. Things become a temporary distraction to my grief.
God prepared a gourd to grow and shadow Jonah's head. The Bible said he was "exceeding glad of the gourd"

7. I shift my security that was in people to things instead of untimately having security in God.
God used a worm to kill the gourd that Jonah had grown to love and find security in. When it dies, Jonah ends up in the same state he was in before...angry and wishing he would die.

8. My perception of love is totally skewed.
God reprimands Jonah for this. Jonah loved and cared for a gourd that he had nothing to do with..didn't work to make it grow, etc, but yet Jonah expects God not to care for the people of Nineveh whom He had created.

The sad part of this story is that we never see if Jonah turned from his bitterness. I'd like to think that he did. Abba, thank You so much that You have kept me from letting the seed of bitterness grow in my heart. Help me to keep it that way. Help me to see the signs before it overwhelms me and consumes me like it did Jonah.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What Happns When I Backslide?

Jonah (Part 1)

I won't go into explaining the whole story of Jonah, but I did observe some interesting things...

What Happens When I Backslide?

1. I put others in danger, and they are aware of the problem before I am.
Jonah was as it said fleeing "from the presence of the Lord"--backslidding. God had clearly told him what to do, and he had no intention of following that plan, in fact, he tried to go the exact opposite direction. I find it interesting that during in a severe storm "so that the ship was like to be broken" Jonah is fast asleep---completely oblivious to God's wrath and power.
I think that happens when we backslide sometimes...those around us realized the danger and destruction before we do. They don't understand the cause of it, but they notice something's definitely wrong. But here we are content in our own little world even uncaring that others are in danger because of our wrong choices.

2. I have to admit I have fled from God to others--revealing my stupidity even to the unsaved.
Jonah lets the other sailors know why the storm is happening. I can imagine as he's telling this to them the storm raging as he talking. Waves pounding the ship, the ship rocking to and fro. These sailors are then absolutely amazed that Jonah would flee from God's presence--the one Jonah claimed made the sea and the dry land. Even unsaved people find it very stupid for a Christian to be backslidden.

3. I have to be willing to suffer the consequences of my actions.
The sailors tried every which way to fix the problem logically. Less weight, etc, but Jonah knew the only thing that could calm the storm--he must yield to the consequence. I don't see anywhere in the Bible that shows that he knew he was going to be swallowed by a fish. Perhaps he thought he was just going to die. He probably hoped that was going to be so---better than having to go back to Ninevah.
**Side note: The Bible says of the sailors "Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly..." I think of that verse in Proverbs "Smite the scorner and the simple will beware..." God didn't just punish Jonah for his sake, but for the sailors, too. He took something bad--Jonah's disobedience--and used it for good in these sailors lives.

4. When I'm willing to be truthful, God provides another path--sometimes quite unexpected.
It wasn't until after Jonah was cast in that "the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah". I never noticed before that Jonah said.."the weeds were wrapped about my head", so obviously Jonah was struggling in the water for a while. And until he said "When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came into thee." It's wasn't until he was literally at the rock bottom he remembered God.
This verse jumped out at me too...
2:8 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.

When I am so wrapped in believing the lies of my own backslidding life, I forfeit mercy. I can never be forgiven if I never admit the truth. I think of that verse "Let not mercy and truth forsake thee" God cannot forgive until the truth comes out.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I just read about hoe jehu became king. It seems that he was mainly used by god to fulfill the prophesy of what was to happen to the house of ahab and jezebel. All of his sons 70 of them-- their heads chopped off and delivered to Jehu. I can just picture the heaps of heads...quite disgusting and brutal. Jehu also destroys the prophets of Baal by tricking them into coming to a big sacrifice time. He hads his armies kill every last bit of them. But yet the Bible says...that he chose not to put away the sins of