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From Isaiah 57

Though God lives in a holy place,

yet he is in the lowly space.

 

Not with good who sees no need,

nor with bad who refuse to heed.

 

But those who hate their evil ways,

with them his spirit forever stays.

 

His silence not the resounding nod;

patience is the way ‘our God.

 

Perfection not the gem he seeks;

it’s the lowly soul with whom he speaks.

 

The lowly soul with contrite heart,

to him his grace he does impart.

 

The Craving of God

Though it can’t be said that God needs anything, I believe it can be said that there is something that He craves. From the beginning of creation, He has craved . . . love. He hand picked Abraham to begin a nation of people that would love Him. He chose Moses to lead that nation out of Egypt—displaying His ability to protect and provide—in hopes that they would love Him. He helped them take the Promised Land, in hopes that they would love him. When they didn’t, He disciplined them, in hopes that they would realize they had stopped loving Him. Through the Judges—their doing evil and forgetting Him; through the Kings—some leading them away from Him and some leading them towards Him; He simply wanted them to love Him.

Though His chosen people had been a disappointment, still, He craved love; and with one final effort He has extended the invitation to all humanity. Through His only Son, all have been invited. All are loved and have been invited to love.

Satan would twist it to make all about the rules. Rules have their place, but I believe it is first about love. If you love God with all your heart, the rules will settle out; and until they do—fortunately—His love covers a multitude of sins. Because of His love, He waits; His craving for ours . . . compels Him.

 

 

Do you ever feel guilty for not really wanting to go to heaven . . . today? A few mornings ago, Sheila and I were sitting in our screened porch enjoying the view and a few cups of coffee. The grass was green from all the recent rain and had just been cut the day before. The temperature was perfect. We had finches, blue birds, red birds . . . and as a little bonus, a mamma and her two fawns to enjoy watching.

It’s a rare thing that I take my Bible to the porch; I usually read inside. But this time I took it. My scheduled reading, Isaiah 35, was about heaven. So there I sat struggling with guilt for not wanting to go there . . . just yet. I know when we get there, we’ll kick ourselves for being so foolish; but as I sat there pondering, I realized that this is the world He has given us to enjoy for now.

The day will come when we will leave this world. Heaven will blow this world away. There will be tastes we’ve never tasted, colors we’ve never seen and sounds we’ve never heard; and all eternity to enjoy it. But for now, He has given us this world. It is His creation. He was pleased when He created it. I think He enjoys seeing us enjoying it and is okay with our not wanting to leave it . . . today.

 

I heard recently of a Facebook conversation between a couple of friends. Though I have not seen the dialogue, I was told the jist of it.

One has chosen a gay lifestyle. Believing God made him that way, he is fully convinced God accepts his choice. Another from our group called him on it. The one line I remember she used was that we all heard the same preaching.

What has changed? Has God changed? Was he against it then but now he’s not? Was it just a case of man’s wrong interpretation of a loving God? Or, has Satan slipped in to deceive? Is the current view held by our mutual friend and so many others today a result of the success of this deception?

I thought a lot about this when I heard about it. I thought of how Satan deceived Eve. She had heard what God said, but Satan suggested something that made her question what God meant. And in that mental frame she was open to Satan’s new meaning.

Not too long ago, I stumbled across a verse in Luke. “See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.” It is a constant struggle to make sure that what we believe is right. If we rely on what we once believed, what we once believed can be twisted. And if it is twisted, no matter how much we believe it is light, it is actually darkness.

 

A Deafening Silence

Forgetting God is a subtle . . . and gradual . . . thing. As I sit here this morning, I would say that I am not guilty of forgetting God, but my journal testifies against me. There have been years where my time with God (my reading and subsequent journaling) has resulted in 4 – 5 journals. At the pace I am on right now, the one I am currently in could almost last an entire year. Have I forgotten God? No way. I have this current journal to prove it. But this same journal also proves that I have to an extent.

Isaiah spoke of a people that had “forgotten God their Savior”. They “had not remembered their Rock, their fortress”. I would suspect, like myself, they would argue that they had not forgotten Him. Knowing how subtle and gradual the forgetting happens, there must surely be trickles of remembrance, sufficient for our minds to believe we haven’t forgotten Him. From what Isaiah says about them, they were further along in their forgetting than I, and God was letting them know the consequences.

Of another group, similar problem, comes this staggering thought; I can’t quit thinking about it. It is God’s response to them. “I will remain quiet.” With impending plans of judgment . . . silence. It makes me wonder of us today. His silence allows us the luxury of assuming acceptance. It may very well not be the case.

 

A Time for Cleansing

There is nothing new under the sun. Even in Isaiah’s day, there were those who called evil good and good evil. It is going on today at an accelerated pace. This last one over the bathrooms has, it seems, pushed to a point of absurdity that we have finally decided was unacceptable.

I pray for the government of North Carolina; that the Lord would give them success as they take a stand, as now the DOJ has filed suit against them. North Carolina could to loose 1 to 2 billion in federal funding – over a bathroom issue. They seem as hell bent on making North Carolina pay as they do in seeing that Hillary Clinton doesn’t. Imagine that.

Isaiah said God would “cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire”. I’m not sure how that will actually happen in our government, but it is without a doubt in need of happening. From the injustice of granting a woman the right to choose, when that choice results in the sacrifice of a human life, to the injustice of allowing Hillary Clinton to remain unscathed in spite of her blatant disregard for law, to this latest bathroom issue; our government is in need of a cleansing. I pray their day is coming.

Push Back America

I like writing that is right – that describes accurately how things are. Just this morning, I read something that Isaiah wrote that describes how things were in his day. Here are few of the selected phrases that speak to what was happening in his day. The young were rising up against the old. The base were rising up against the honorable. The guides were leading people astray. They were parading their sin like Sodom.

By his accurate description I can see a parallel to our present day. I am able to see what God thought about it – what he planned to do about it. I can see, so much like today, how the base is rising up against the honorable. His account inspires me. In the flood that the guides of today are pushing, I see that God has his own guides; and through this one I am inspired, not to just let my light shine, but to push back.

I like an Abraham Lincoln quote I read the other day. “Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” The honorable people of our society are in the right place. We need to do more to stand against those who are pushing the base things of this world. They parade it like Sodom. And again, from someone elses descriptive writing, we know that didn’t end very well.

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